BUFFALO, N.Y. — The fraternity house on Custer Street and the heartbreak it now represents is a reminder to Kim and TJ Burch that their fight against hazing is not over.
Nearly five years ago, their son Nolan died as a result of hazing at West Virginia University.
He was a first-semester freshman pledging a fraternity.
"We all need to be educated. We all need to work together. It's not just our problem. It's society's problem. This has really become an epidemic," said Kim Burch.
TJ added, "The hard part is we know what that family's going through right now, exactly. On life support for a couple of days and the exact same thing that happened. We know what they're gonna be going through too the next few years and it's not fun."
Now the Burch's are raising awareness in Nolan's memory through an organization they created called the NMB Foundation.
They said the culture allowing hazing needs to change.
"They join...thinking that the people around them are gonna look out for them and watch out for them, instead of putting them into dangerous situations. When they do get put into dangerous situations, instead of doing the right thing and stepping up and getting kids help, they tend to do the opposite," said TJ.
Kim and TJ are calling for accountability from the schools, from the students and from the organizations.
"Why can't we work together? Make it better. Make it safer. There's a way," Kim said.
Through their activism, they've connected with several other parents who've also lost a child to hazing.
Their hope is that the more they talk about it, the more they can prevent it from happening again.
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