Lawsuit: High schooler suffered concussion in alleged hazing incident

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 11:26 PM MDT
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PELL CITY, Ala. (WBRC/Gray News) - An Alabama high school student and his parents are suing the Pell City Board of Education and several others after an alleged beating at a baseball team lock-in.

The lawsuit says a Pell City High School freshman got a concussion after getting hazed by older team members at a January lock-in for junior varsity and varsity baseball players on school property, WBRC reports.

“If this was their own son who this happened to, they would care,” said JD Gilbert, an attorney representing the freshman and his parents. “Some of the younger kids were beaten with pillows with unknown objects in them, and kids suffered multiple injuries.”

Gilbert says the student suffered a concussion, a busted nose, bleeding and bruising.

“He suffered the injuries and informed the head coach he was feeling bad. Something was wrong after he had taken the beating from the older players,” Gilbert said. “The head coach, without calling his parents or notifying the parents that the kid was beat up and injured, he just gave him some medicine and told him to go back to sleep and they would deal with it in the morning.”

Pell City Police Chief Clay Morris said in a statement that the department “conducted a thorough investigation of the alleged conduct and determined that no criminal conduct had occurred. The matter was then referred to the Board of Education as a matter of school discipline.”

The statement adds that the department “stands by its investigative determination,” and the city intends to defend itself against the “false claims” in the lawsuit.

Gilbert says no punishments were handed out after the alleged incident.

“The fact that the other adults in the situation – all the way up from the principal to the school resource officers and, eventually, the superintendent of the Pell City Board of Education – for them to not hold anyone accountable is why I think so many people want to see justice prevail in this. Someone needs to be held accountable,” he said.

Gilbert says his clients are willing to go to trial if needed.

The defendants in the lawsuit include the Pell City Board of Education, the Pell City superintendent, the Pell City High School principal, the baseball coach, assistant baseball coach, athletic director and two school resource officers.