Parents of two teenage boys have filed a lawsuit alleging that varsity football players sexually assaulted their sons in a hazing tradition known as "Code Blue" that was so violent a broomstick broke during the attack.
The lawsuit filed Monday also alleges that coaches at Plainfield Central High School in suburban Chicago knew about the hazing tradition, which involved older players pinning first-year teammates to the ground and sexually assaulting them with a broomstick.
The lawsuit describes an attack on Oct. 17, 2019, when the first-year football players were in the locker room without adult supervision. The older players "stormed" in, surrounded the younger teens, and carried out the sexual assault. One of the coaches also allegedly called his colleague and told him the players weren't on the field yet because "they were still in the locker room getting broomsticks forced between their buttocks resulting in penetration," the lawsuit states.
“There is no excuse for this lack of oversight of teenage athletes, and a coach should have been present in the locker room that day," attorney Bhavani Raveendran said in a statement. "And if that isn’t enough, the behavior of other school officials after the incident was just as dismissive, failing to report, investigate or properly discipline in those involved. Absolutely no one was looking out for these freshman boys who were experiencing significant trauma."
The parents are seeking undisclosed damages, as well as an injunction to stop the practice of hazing, training for coaches and students on the dangers of hazing and bullying, and a peer monitor assigned to track compliance. They also want to establish a database for hazing and bullying complaints filed in the school district.
Tom Hernandez, the director of community relations for Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, told BuzzFeed News that officials do not comment on pending litigation.