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Lawsuit filed against school district for alleged hazing incidents

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Capital HS

Olympia School District

SEATTLE — A Tacoma attorney has filed a lawsuit against the Olympia School District for two alleged hazing incidents involving students.

The attorney, Darrell Cochran, filed a complaint for an unspecified amount of damages in Thurston County Superior Court on behalf of Amanda Jackson and her son “J.J.,” court documents state.

According to court documents, in the summer of 2010, Jackson’s son, an eighth grader at Capital High School, participated a basketball camp in Seaside, Ore. One evening at the camp the basketball coaches left the hotel where the team was staying to go to a local pub for a few beers. Left unsupervised by the coaches, several other members of the basketball team approached J.J.,pinned him down and sexually assaulted him. The assault happened because the coaching staff at Capital High School failed to provide adequate supervision, according to the lawsuit.

In June 2012, J.J. participated in another summer basketball camp with Capital High School, at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The team and basketball coaches stayed in one of the school’s dormitories. One night, the coaches attended an off-campus event and left two varsity basketball players in charge of the team. The lawsuit alleges that later that night, several players gathered and then physically and sexually assaulted some of the younger players; J.J. unsuccessfully  tried to protect the younger players from the assaults.  The suit alleges that the Capital High School coaching staff failed to supervise the students despite the danger of ritualistic hazing and bullying behavior.

Olympia School District spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet released the following statement: “The district takes all allegations regarding mistreatment of students very seriously. As soon as we learned about these alleged events in the summer of 2012 we investigated, made changes in staff, conducted additional training for coaches and changed our approval process for all overnight school-related events. When our employees do not fulfill their responsibilities they are subject to disciplinary actions. The head coach was relieved of his coaching position and is no longer employed by the Olympia School District.”

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