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Hazing Incident Brings Lawsuit, Charges

Hazing is once again on front pages.

The family of a high school freshman in Illinois is suing Maine Township High School District 207 over a hazing incident that happened in September. According to the claim, school officials sanctioned the activity.

“I thought my son would be safe at school,” said the unidentified mother of the boy on November 19. “You think when you drop off your son, it’s a safe place to be. But I feel like the coaches should have kept him safe on the soccer field, and they didn’t do that.”

Additionally, the mother says the hazing – along with the school’s failure to address it – violates Illinois anti-bullying laws.

The lawsuit alleges that the boy, 14, and at least two other students, were sexually assaulted during soccer practice. It adds that assaults of this nature take place whenever new players are promoted to the varsity and have been going on for several years. The suit maintains the school’s principal knew, or should have known, about the initiation ritual, and that two soccer coaches witnessed and permitted the attacks.

Officials for the school district said ten students are facing disciplinary action, two soccer coaches have been reassigned, and three other coaches, none school employees, have been fired.

Police in Des Plaines, Illinois, announced that six students have been petitioned to juvenile court, each charged with battery and hazing.

“We see this not just as a local issue, but this is a national issue,” said Antonio Romanucci, the attorney for the plaintiffs. “We hope to springboard what happened here into making significant policy change all over the country.”

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