Tallahassee, FL -- May 24, 2012 --
Robert Champion's parents say they don't believe their son willingly agreed to be hazed.
Dr. Barbara Barnes, who's dedicated to stop hazing, says the need to belong is so powerful that it makes some people set aside their values.
She describes beatings such as Champion's as a "mafia mentality."
Barnes, a former FAMU professor, says, "This was an example of human cruelty. For one person just passing, beating and beating. When do you stop?"
For the FAMU Marching 100 members performing a hazing ritual November 19th, it didn't stop- until they made it from the front to the back of a charter bus while being beat.
For drum major Robert Champion, it ended in death.
"I would have to say he just succumbed to the weakness of, overpowered by if I don't do this, then I'll be looked upon as a weakling. He rerouted his value system, which he shouldn't have done."
Barnes says many young people participate in hazing because of a sense of wanting to belong.
In the released interviews from Champion's death investigation, band members said they participated in hazing rituals to get respect.
"You don't get it like that." Says, Dr. Barnes.
FAMU band member Ryan Dean told investigators, "It wasn't kind of like a forced thing. It was just you're the rank sergeant, you're in control. I didn't like it but, I willingly did it."
Band members admit to going to great lengths for "respect."
Marc Baron, another band member, added, "Some people use their fists. They kick, use drum sticks. Are they using the drum stick to stab you with it? No. It's like hit your across the back. Like playing like you're a drum? Yeah."
Dr. Barnes says hazing can oftentimes be traced back to high school. She says more than 1.5 million high school students are subjected to hazing.
Barnes says parents can make a difference by teaching their kids that they are loved, and schools can provide environments that allow student to speak up with it comes to hazing.
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