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St. Louis Post Dispatch recently covered Kennedy Hunt P.C.’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Rockwood School District. 

Per the Post Dispatch: 

The Rockwood School District failed to intervene when a high school football player endured nearly two years of sexual harassment and hazing from his teammates, according to a lawsuit filed against the district. The suit, filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court, alleges the Eureka High School student was repeatedly assaulted, harassed and discriminated against starting his freshman year in 2021.

On January 9th, 2024, Kennedy Hunt P.C. filed the complaint against the Rockwood School District for sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act. 

The lawsuit alleges Rockwood School District in St. Louis County, Missouri subjected minor Plaintiff Doe to sexual harassment and retaliation.

According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Doe played on the Eureka High School Freshman football team and was repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment by other players on the team.

Per the lawsuit:

Defendant’s policies require an adult coach or member of the staff to supervise and monitor all student players while they are in the locker rooms. There was often no adult coach or member of the staff supervising players in the locker rooms. Defendant knew or should have known that upper-class students on the football team were hazing, harassing, and/or causing physical harm to freshmen players. On or about September 30, 2021, two students, a sophomore and a junior approached Plaintiff Doe in the locker room. The sophomore student grabbed and held Plaintiff’s arms and restrained him. Another student yelled “Who wants, Bubblegum?” While the sophomore student restrained Plaintiff Doe, the junior student exposed his own genitals and put them close to Plaintiff Doe’s face, as though he was going to force Plaintiff Doe to perform oral sex on him. Plaintiff Doe broke free from the sophomore’s grasp before the junior did anything else. The term “bubblegum” is slang that refers to oral sex. 

The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff reported these incidents to the head coach of the football team and to the principal of Eureka High School. The lawsuit alleges the School District put a safety plan in place for Plaintiff Doe, but harassment continued. According to to the lawsuit, the plaintiff continued to report incidents of harassment to staff at Eureka High School, but, the Defendant failed to take effective remedial action to prevent sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation against Plaintiff Doe. 

Per the lawsuit:

On or about October 11, 2022, Plaintiffs became aware of a group chat in which the junior and other students were threatening to “beat up” Plaintiff Doe. Plaintiffs informed Principal Sink of the threats to Plaintiff Doe’s safety. On or about October 18, 2022, Plaintiff Doe informed Coach Sumner via e-mail as required by the First Revised Safety Plan that a student sang a song about “bubblegum” in front of him in the locker room. Another football teammate told Plaintiff Doe that he was going to get the junior to “give you more bubblegum.” On or about October 26, 2022, Plaintiff Doe again informed Coach Sumner that a student had asked him if Plaintiff Doe wanted the student to “buy him bubblegum.” Plaintiff Doe reported the continuing sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation to Defendant through its employees and agents including but not limited to, Head Coach Sumner, Principal Sink, and Counselor Smith. Still Defendant failed to discipline any students for the continued sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. 

The lawsuit continues: 

Due to reasonable fear of further sexual harassment, assault, and battery, Plaintiff Doe was unable to fully participate in the football program at Eureka High School or attend clinics and camps that were necessary to make it onto the Varsity Team. In about Summer 2023, due to reasonable fear of further sexual harassment, assault, and battery, Plaintiff Doe quit playing football for Eureka High School. Plaintiff Doe suffered severe emotional distress, including, fear, anxiety, depression, humiliation, and anguish as a result of the sexual assault and battery, hazing and sexual harassment directed against him by the junior and other students. 

The lawsuit seeks actual damages, including emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses, and attorney’s fees and costs. 

This case is ongoing. For more information, contact attorneys Michelle Faron, Nicole Matlock, and Sarah Jane Hunt at info@kennedyhuntlaw.com. If you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.