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Lawyer: Hazing Bill Addresses Existing Problem

An attorney representing four current and former Maine West High School students in a bullying and hazing lawsuit said proposed legislation that would stiffen disciplinary action for education employees that fail to report hazing would not affect the su

An attorney representing four current and former Maine West High School students in a bullying and hazing lawsuit stopped short of saying proposed legislation validated his clients’ complaints, but Antonio Romanucci, of Chicago-based Romanucci and Blandin, said the recent action acknowledged hazing incidents do occur.

The bill, which , announced in a public statement on Wednesday, would make employees of educational institutions that fail to report hazing incidents equally responsible for the actions as those who carried out the acts.

“It certainly indicates that there’s a problem out there, and the problem needs to be stopped,” Romanucci said. “And certainly Rep. Moylan is addressing that.”

If passed into law, the legislation would not have any direct bearing on the lawsuit filed by the Maine West students for past reports of bullying and hazing.

“Clearly it doesn’t do anything to assist us in the lawsuit that’s been filed, but I am absolutely exalted to see that Rep. Moylan is taking a stand and being a leader and recognizing that educators are responsible for what goes on in their schools,” Romanucci said.

Moylan said he expects the bill on reporting hazing to reach the House floor by the end of the current legislative session at the end of May.

Romanucci said the proposed law would eliminate the possibility for defenses to state people knew what was happening, didn’t do anything, and then say they didn’t know about it.

“So no more blind eye in the future if this legislation actually passes,” Romanucci said.

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