Education

Mom’s lawsuit blames Freeburg school district for hazing of son

A Freeburg woman has sued Freeburg Community High School District 77, its superintendent and a soccer coach for allegedly doing nothing to stop the hazing of her son.

The lawsuit alleges the woman’s freshman son was beaten during a hazing ritual and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

Katrina Fenner’s complaint requests punitive and compensatory damages, including money for “permanent bodily injury” and post-traumatic stress counseling, over an alleged incident on a school bus returning from a soccer game.

According to the complaint, the freshman boy was on a school bus returning from a soccer game on Sept. 5, 2014, when members of the varsity soccer team grabbed him and others, and beat them.

Fenner is represented by Jarrod Beasley and Matthew Young, who did not immediately return calls for comment.

Superintendent Andrew Lehman and coach Natalie Rushing are named in the complaint. Lehman is aware of the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in East St. Louis, but referred all questions to attorney Merry Rhodes.

The 22-page complaint lists six counts, including Title IX discrimination in that “based on prior reports of abuse and hazing, Freeburg ... possessed actual knowledge of abuse and hazing of male students.” Other counts allege due-process violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to the complaint, the freshman boy was on a school bus returning from a soccer game on Sept. 5, 2014, when members of the varsity soccer team grabbed him and others, and beat them. The complaint says the district’s “inaction constructively expelled plaintiff’s minor from school,” and the boy was diagnosed with PTSD.

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