Alabama Family Lawsuit: Son Suffered Concussion in Hazing

March 14, 2023

PELL CITY, Ala. (AP) — Parents are suing an east Alabama school district after they say their son received a concussion when older baseball teammates hazed him by beating him with pillows.

Local news outlets report the lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the Pell City school district, the Pell City Police Department, Superintendent James Martin, the high school principal, baseball coach and others.

The parents say their son attended a “midnight madness” event with baseball players in January. They say their son and others were beaten with pillows concealing unknown objects, injuring multiple boys.

The lawsuit says the head coach, without calling parents to tell them about the injuries or ask for permission, gave the boy medicine and told him to go to sleep until the morning.

The mother says she later received a video of of baseball players hitting someone with pillows. A doctor who treated the son diagnosed him with a concussion, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that Pell City High School Principal Holly Costello met with the mother on Jan. 20 and told the mother she had interviewed eight players and assured the mother that the incident had “been taken care of on the inside.”

Martin told the St. Clair Times that he and school board members are reviewing whether the district will keep sponsoring sports team sleepovers.

The family says police and school officials closed their complaints. Lawyer J.D. Gilbert told WBRC-TV the family feels no one has been held accountable.

“Head coach of the baseball team is still the head coach,” Gilbert said. “The players who beat the younger kids – there were no punishments.”

Pell City Police Chief Clay Morris told WBRC-TV in a statement that the family’s claims are “false” and officers “determined no criminal conduct had occurred.”

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