Saturday, January 25, 2020
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Hazing alleged since the 70s at Ooltewah

A boys’ basketball coach at Ooltewah High School in Hamilton County, Tennessee, is being sued for not doing anything after learning that a member of the team had been raped and assaulted, ABC News reports.

The Ooltewah H.S. band has been invited to the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2 (school website)

The plaintiff, identified in the federal lawsuit as “John Doe,” claims the school district ignored ongoing sexual assault on the team, despite knowing about it. Coach Andre Montgomery allegedly told players after the assault, “We’re a family, and what goes on in the family stays in the family.”

An investigation into the charges showed that the boys’ basketball team had a history of violent hazing going back several decades. Younger players were beaten between one and three times a week, the investigators found, and reportedly spoke openly about the beatings in front of their coach and other school officials.

John Doe, according to the lawsuit, was also subjected to verbal abuse but was told, by Mr Montgomery, to “man up” over the incidents. Coaches once found him “lying on the floor, covered in blood, urine, and feces,” and he required emergency surgery to fix his wounds.

Mr Montgomery, in an unrelated case, faces four counts of failing to report child sexual abuse. The lawsuit has been filed in federal court, so it will examine whether the school district or its employee was “deliberately indifferent” to the suffering of John Doe.

In order to be liable for damages, schools must not only know about the abuse of students by other students but must consciously or recklessly disregard the consequences of ignoring it. School employees must fully know that their actions are creating a situation that will result in the student being harmed.

Other hazing incidents in recent years:

In unrelated OHS news, the marching band is set to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on January 2. Bands are selected for this honor “based on a variety of criteria including musicianship, marching ability, and entertainment or special interest value,” the Tournament of Roses has said.

The band, in fact, has established a national reputation of a completely positive nature, including at least 37 trophies at Bands of America events since 2001. Just last year, the band won trophies for outstanding visuals and third place in Class 2A at the October 10 regional competition in Jacksonville, Alabama, and first place and all three caption trophies in Class 2A at the October 3 regional competition in Powder Springs, Georgia.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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