Nearly two years after losing their son to a violent college hazing ritual, the family of Robert Champion says they are on a mission to be sure what happened to them never happens to another family.
Pam and Robert Champion, Sr. held a community meeting on Saturday in Decatur, featuring a panel of experts on the subjects of hazing and bullying.
"An event like this, it tells the real stories," said Pam Champion. "With what happened to my son, it's almost like we were commissioned to take that message so that no other parent has to experience what we've gone through."
Robert Champion was a drum major at Florida A&M University and was in the marching band.
Following a performance at a football game in Orlando in November 2011, Champion walked on to the band's bus to find his classmates waiting to pummel him as he tried to run down the aisle of the vehicle.
It was a hazing ritual that proved fatal.
The panel assembled by the Champion family spoke from several points of view on how and why people are bullies, and why hazing can be so rampant at colleges and universities.
"I think there will always be some form of bullying," said panelist Ivory Lucky.
Lucky also attended FAMU and endured harsh hazing while performing with the marching band. He said his injuries resulted in organ failure that nearly turned fatal.
His message to young people was simple: no matter how important joining the organization might seem, nothing is worth going through physical punishment to gain entry to a club of any kind.
"You don't have to go through this to be successful," said Lucky.
The Champion family said the Saturday forum is one of several they plan to host in the future.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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