Suspended Player Sues School Over Hazing Punishment

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A Wisconsin high school football player is suing the School District of New Berlin, as well as Eisenhower High School principal Matthew Buckley, to lift a suspension he says he received for allegedly participating in hazing. 

The suit was filed late last week by a minor who is referred to as John Doe in the filings. He alleges that his due process rights were violated and is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the suspension until a hearing can be held.

The hazing incident in question was reported on an anonymous tip. On Sept. 11, the school sent a letter home to parents about the alleged incident and undertook an internal investigation, which determined that hazing did occur.

According to the Journal Sentinel, attorney John Gatzke said John Doe was informed via letter on Sept. 11 that he would be suspended from school for two days and from co-curricular (athletic) activity for 12 months.

Gatzke argues that the boys due process rights were violated, as the school district did not inform him of the specific acts he’d committed that violated school code.

According to the anonymous letter that was sent to the school, the hazing involved older players "paddling" younger teammates with a wooden board "as hard as they can on the buttocks."

The letter added that some players had considered leaving the team as a result. I number of other players were also suspended.

Gatzke said his client and all the players who were suspended deserve an opportunity to be heard.

“These are fine young men who have contributed to the betterment of their teams, their school, and their community,” Gatzke and his fellow attorney Bryant McFadden said in a news release. “They are students in good standing, they have all participated in voluntary community service projects coordinated by their school and by their athletic team coaches. They are also football players, and several of them are participants in multiple sports where they have performed with distinction and honor for their school, their community, their teammates and coaches, their families and themselves.”

A hearing on the temporary restraining order is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 20. 

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