Pell City High School student, parents suing school system for alleged hazing incident

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 10:17 PM CST
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PELL CITY, Ala. (WBRC) - A high school student and his parents are suing the Pell City Board of Education and several others for an alleged beating at a baseball team lock-in back in January.

“If this was their own son who this happened to, they would care,” said JD Gilbert, an attorney at Gordon, Dana & Gilmore LLC. He is representing the Pell City High School freshman and his parents.

The lawsuit says the student got a concussion after getting hazed by older team members at a lock-in for junior varsity and varsity baseball players.

“Some of the younger kids were beaten with pillows with unknown objects in them and kids suffered multiple injuries, including our plaintiff who has come forward,” said Gilbert.

The attorney says the student suffered a concussion, a busted nose, bleeding, and bruising.

“He suffered the injuries and informed the head coach he was feeling bad,” said Gilbert. “Something was wrong after he had taken the beating form the older players. The head coach, without calling his parents or notifying the parents that the kid was beat up and injured, he just gave him some medicine and told him to go back to sleep and they would deal with it in the morning.”

We reached out to the Pell City Police Department who released the following statement:

Upon being notified of the incident in question, the Pell City Police Department conducted a thorough investigation of the alleged conduct and determined that no criminal conduct had occurred. The matter was then referred to the Board of Education as a matter of school discipline. The Department stands by its investigative determination, and the City will defend itself against the false claims contained within this filing.

Pell City Police Chief Clay Morris

“Head coach of the baseball team is still the head coach,” explained Gilbert. “The players who beat the younger kids -- there were no punishments... The fact that the other adults in this situation all the way up from the principal to the school resource officers and eventually the superintendent of the Pell City Board of Education... for them to not hold anyone accountable is why I think so many people want to see justice prevail in this. Someone has to be held accountable.”

Gilbert says they are willing to go to trial if needed.

The defendants in the lawsuit include the Pell City Board of Education, the Pell City Superintendent, the Pell City High School principal along with the baseball coach, assistant baseball coach, athletic director, and two school resource officers.

We reached out to the Pell City Superintendent about the lawsuit but we haven’t heard back as of Thursday night.

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