An Illinois high school coach and his school district are facing a lawsuit in connection with allegations that he fostered a culture of “long-standing, systemic, ritualized” hazing and bullying, including an incident of the “naked oreo run.”
As reported by the Rockford Register Star, Byron (Ill.) High School head football coach and math teacher Jeffrey Boyer, assistant coach and Super Bowl champion Sean Considine, others in the athletic department and the Byron school district are all co-defendants against a plaintiff who claims he was assaulted on the return leg of a bus ride to the team’s 2018 state title loss at the University of Illinois. Per the lawsuit, former Byron football player Richard Messling placed his penis on the plaintiff’s face while he was sleeping on the bus.
That act allegedly followed a “naked Oreo run,” — in which players ran naked across the school’s football field with an Oreo wedged between their butt cheeks — that reportedly took place in late October of 2018, immediately after the team returned from a team building exercise at Considine’s farm.
In a unique twist, the lawsuit in question claims that the plaintiff was bullied because he refused to take part in the Oreo run, not that he was bullied into participating against his will.
The suit directly implicates such a large swatch of defendants because it claims a general atmosphere of indifference to the acts of hazing and bullying directly led to more such events taking place.
“There is a pattern and practice of indifference that has been evident throughout my client’s tenure at Byron High School, and that the bullying that has gone on has been part of this code of silence for the sake of the football program,” Stephanie White, senior trial attorney for the Sandman, Levy and Petrich law firm of Chicago, said in a statement to the press. “The fact that the district would not take measures to follow their anti-bullying, anti-violence protocol in responding to incidents, and in fact target the student or make him a target when he does voice his concerns has revealed itself since he started at Byron High School.”
The lawsuit officially seeks, “more than $50,000 in damages,” a total which White told the Register Star they hope to exceed by far. Further news about the timing of the case will come in days ahead.