WARNING: The following story contains graphic descriptions of hazing and sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of two former suburban football players after they were allegedly assaulted during a violent hazing ritual in 2019, and after coaches allegedly failed to act to stop the ritual.
According to the lawsuit, the two Plainfield Central High School students were pinned to the floor of a locker room and assaulted by varsity football players in a hazing ritual known as “Code Blue.”
According to the suit, filed against District 202 and the school’s football coaches, the school has had “longstanding issues” involving hazing, and coaches allegedly knew about the hazing ritual and failed to act to stop it.
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The plaintiffs in the suit are the parents of the former players.
What follows is a description of the conduct alleged in the lawsuit. Discretion is advised.
According to the suit, varsity football players would select random freshmen players on the team for harassment and/or assault in the locker room following practices as part of an established hazing ritual.
Following an Oct. 2019 practice, several players allegedly targeted the plaintiffs. When one of the plaintiffs tried to run away, the players grabbed him and pinned him to the ground. They then allegedly pushed a broom stick between both students' buttocks, resulting in penetration, according to the suit.
The assault was so violent that the broom stick snapped in half, the suit said.
Both players involved in the suit were assaulted in this way, according to attorneys. Other “Code Blue” rituals also exist, including one where players were forced to strip naked, be covered in soap, and then be physically assaulted in the locker room showers.
The athletes informed coaches and their parents after the assault, but coaches failed to act at the time, according to the suit. The “Code Blue” ritual has allegedly been known to staff and coaches since at least 2014.
After a meeting involving parents and coaches, the only discipline that was handed out was three-day suspensions for four of the players involved, according to the suit. Others received “little-to-no punishment.”
Following the meeting, the two plaintiffs in the case have been subject to “bullying, harassment and threats,” the suit says. One of the defendants has been subjected to harassment during basketball games, with students chanting “broomstick” at him.
The school allegedly refused transfer requests for one of the plaintiffs, and the district refused to sign a waiver that would allow the other plaintiff to compete for another IHSA school, according to the suit.
The suit is seeking damages, interest on those damages and court costs. The suit is also seeking training regarding hazing, harassment, bullying and discipline, among other trainings for students and coaches. The suit also seeks an injunction to stop the practice of hazing, and to require coaches to adhere to rules that put at least one member of the staff in the locker room at all times.
The suit also aims to establish a database in District 202 for hazing and bullying complaints.
School officials declined comment, citing the pending nature of the litigation.