An Alabama school district finds itself in an ocean of hot water after the parents of a freshman football player who was allegedly hazed following an April practice filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Mobile Board of Education.
As reported by AL.com, Mary Rayford-Kim, the mother of 14-year-old Davidson (Ala.) football player Rodney Kim Jr. — who suffered a broken arm after a violent post-practice hazing attack — has filed a lawsuit accusing the Mobile County Board of Education of harboring negligence among its coaches, whom it claims failed to intervene when Kim Jr. was attacked by his classmates.
The school district moved quickly to suspend four players in the aftermath of the attack, though it simultaneously held back from passing public judgment as an internal investigation looked into the incident. Those four students have been charged as juveniles.
“It’s very definitely a disturbing situation that occurred in the locker room at Davidson High School,” Mobile County Schools Superintendent Martha Peek told AL.com after the incident was originally reported. “It’s something we by no means condone. We stress with our students proper decorum. Unfortunately, we had a group of young men that made some very poor decisions. Since that has come to light, we have begun immediately a complete investigation. As you can imagine, it’s complex. It will take a lot of interviewing and a lot of follow-up to get all the details and know who was involved and what took place.”
In addition to financial restitution, Kim Jr.’s family is seeking four other procedural changes as well, as laid out by AL.com:
- For Davidson to forfeit all football games in the 2018 season.
- For each of the school’s football coaches to be fired.
- For all 20 football players involved in the beating to be charged.
- For hazing to be banned in all high schools across the nation.
Naturally, only three of those four tenets are unilaterally enforceable by Davidson, with the fourth nominally already approved. Of the three which Davidson could enact, it seems highly unlikely that even two of the three are deemed acceptable, with the suspension of all 20 players who took part in the beating perhaps the most likely to be accomplished.
For now, the Davidson football program remains in an utter state of crisis, with the future of the sport at the school now very much contingent on the outcome of the trial it now faces.