Nearly two years ago, Andrew Coffey died in a fraternity hazing incident. Fraternity members had the ability to get help for him when they saw how sick he was but decided to “let him sleep it off.” Even when his lifeless body was discovered the next morning, his fellow fraternity brothers spent 11 minutes calling and texting each other before calling 911 because they were afraid about getting in trouble. His death was entirely preventable.
Earlier this year, Andrew's parents, Tom and Sandy Coffey, joined forces with Attorneys David Bianchi and Michael Levine to draft Andrew's Law, an amendment to the Florida hazing statute that is aimed at preventing other students from dying like Andrew did. After several weeks of going through multiple committees, the law passed unanimously in both chambers of the Florida legislature. It was signed by the Governor on June 25, 2019.
Among other things, Andrew's Law offers immunity to the first person to call 911 on behalf of a hazing victim, provided the 911 caller stay with the victim and cooperate with the police investigation of the incident. Students rendering aid when help arrives are also immune from criminal prosecution. The hope is that students will be incentivized to call 911 and lives will be saved.
Yesterday, a law that had been months in the making finally took effect.
Attorneys Bianchi & Levine Speak to Approximately 2,000 University Students & Faculty About Andrew's Law
Appropriately, last week Mr. Bianchi and Mr. Levine toured universities throughout Florida for Hazing Prevention Week, presenting a talk on how to fight hazing culture and prevent future injuries and deaths. The presentations stressed the importance of calling 911 when a student sees a hazing victim in need of medical care. We wanted to take a moment to thank the University of Miami, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, and Florida International University for hosting us and allowing us to get the word out on Andrew’s Law.
We could think of no better way of honoring Andrew's memory than using his story to help students keep each other safe.