The parents of an Illinois high school student have sued their son’s school after members of his soccer team allegedly hazed him. The allegations are pretty serious, including physical and sexual abuse. The legal question is whether the school can be held responsible, and it likely comes down to whether the coaches had any idea it was going on, or worse, whether they somehow allowed it to happen.
This case brings up the issue of how carefully school staff – coaches, administrators, teachers – are required monitor students and ensure their safety while at school. Generally speaking, it’s hard to hold schools liable for bullying, hazing and other bad behavior by other students if the school had no way of knowing about it. However, this lawsuit says the soccer coaches sanctioned the hazing, which took place during a soccer practice this fall. The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation, as well as an injunction against future hazing.
The lawsuit says that the principal knew about the hazing ritual, which has supposedly gone on for the last few years, and if not, then she should have known. More importantly, it says that the coaches witnessed the hazing and did nothing to stop it. If that’s the case, it seems that the school could be held responsible. As a former crappy high school soccer player in Chicago, I hope they are held responsible.
I understand that a school can’t be responsible for everything that happens, especially when we’re talking about a building full of teenagers, but this type of serious hazing is a different story. Personally, I think schools need to be held to a higher standard in cases like this. We’re talking about the health and safety of our teenagers. The thought that this was allowed to take place while adults in charge supposedly looked the other way is truly frightening.
According to a news article, the students who allegedly carried out the hazing have been suspended and are facing misdemeanor charges. Five coaches have been taken off their coaching duties, as well. The article also says that DCFS is investigating the incident.
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