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National Hazing Prevention Week shines light on work that remains in Ohio

Hazing Prevention Week signals not only the hazing-related tragedies in Ohio but also the work that's been done to achieve zero tolerance.

OHIO, USA — A national campaign this week hits especially close to home.

It's hazing prevention awareness week.

And given the hazing-related death of BGSU sophomore Stone Foltz back in March, some say it's a reminder the work is far from over.

RELATED: 'We don't need the condolences, we just need this to stop' | Parents of Stone Foltz speak out after BGSU sophomore's death, reveal BAC of 0.394

Collin Wiant and Stone Foltz both died as a result of college campus hazing here in Ohio.

Then there's Tyler Perino. He was lucky. 

He survived.

RELATED: From pledge to purpose: Former Miami University student aims to halt fraternity hazing

Attorney Rex Elliott, out of Columbus, has represented the Foltz family since the BGSU sophomore died as a result of alcohol poisoning back in March.

He's been pushing for zero tolerance on college campuses for months.

Rex told us, "I hope and pray that I never have another hazing case in my career - and I hope no other lawyer does either - because there are no more hazing deaths - that's the goal here."

In July, more than a dozen schools signed on to a zero-tolerance hazing initiative.

And in just days - in October - Collin's Law (named for Collin Wiant - the Ohio University student who also died as a result of hazing) takes effect.

RELATED: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signs anti-hazing Collin's Law

That means hazing violations will be elevated to second-degree misdemeanors, and hazing involving forced consumption of drugs or alcohol that seriously harms someone would be a third-degree felony punishable with possible prison time.

"The Foltz family, the Wiant family, the Perino family, they have been all over the place - they have been on college campuses around the of Ohio," Elliott told us in our interview, "as have I. To explain to these kids the cases of Stone, Collin and Tyler - and what the consequences for hazing will be in the future. What my hope is - that people are listening. I will tell you in my speeches I don't have 18 to 22-year-olds on their phones yawning, falling asleep, they are intently listening to me and hopefully it's having an impact."

Elliott wants Ohio to be a bellwether for safe college campuses across the country, stressing zero tolerance to hazing. But, he says there needs to be even more buy-in from the smaller schools, and state officials in Columbus.

Now last week - WTOL 11 sat down with Lt. Governor John Husted and asked him about the state's role in pushing for zero tolerance on all college campuses.

He said at the time, "Absolutely. There continue to be ongoing talks about how the state can play a more important role in supporting the universities to end hazing incidents on our campuses."

If you want to learn more about this week's effort to bring awareness to hazing prevention - click this link: hazingprevention.org/events/national-hazing-prevention-week

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