Categories
Hazing News

Chicago Tribune: St. Ignatius swim team incident leads to lawsuit

Link
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-school-hazing-suit-19aug19,0,3026455.story

abstract:

chicagotribune.com
Paralyzed teen’s parents sue Chicago school over alleged hazing
Swimming pool injury happened during 2007 water polo practice in St. Ignatius College Prep, lawsuit says
By Kristen Mack
TRIBUNE REPORTER

The family of a former St. Ignatius College Prep student sued the school Monday for negligence over an alleged hazing incident that left him quadriplegic 2 ½ years ago.

Christopher Connolly, then a 15-year-old freshman, suffered the injuries when he struck his head on the bottom of the school swimming pool while practicing with the junior-varsity water polo team in February 2007.

The lawsuit alleged an assistant coach told some classmates to throw snowballs at “Flounder,” a derogatory nickname he had given Connolly. As he tried to avoid being hit by “a barrage” of snowballs, kickboards, buoys and other pool equipment, Connolly was instructed by another coach to “get in” the pool, the suit said.

Connolly “was forced to dive into the swimming pool,” hitting the pool bottom and fracturing his vertebrae, according to the suit and his attorney, Steven Greenberger.

Greenberger said the injury has devastated the family.

The suit, filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks undisclosed monetary damages from St. Ignatius. The coaches were not named as defendants.

The school, 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago, didn’t not return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

”It’s not just a monetary thing. It’s the physical and emotional expense,” said Connolly’s mother, Helen, 60, who filed the suit with her husband, Dennis. “He can’t be left alone. I hope I can live long enough to take care of him.”

Connolly, now 17, uses a wheelchair and needs help getting dressed, bathing and picking things off the floor. Connolly has regained some use of his arms and hands with “extensive and intensive therapy,” Greenberger said.

After nearly four months in the hospital, Connolly returned to St. Ignatius in fall 2007 for his sophomore year. He later transferred to Walter Payton College Prep High School, where he will return for his senior year next month. He is a member of the National Honor Society and is thinking about where he will go to college next year.

”I’m not ruling anything out at this point,” he said.
d. in Chicago, didn’t not return a call seeking comment on the lawsuit.

”It’s not just a monetary thing. It’s the physical and emotional expense,” said Connolly’s mother, Helen, 60, who filed the suit with her husband, Dennis. “He can’t be left alone. I hope I can live long enough to take care of him.”

Connolly, now 17, uses a wheelchair and needs help getting dressed, bathing and picking things off the floor. Connolly has regained some use of his arms and hands with “extensive and intensive therapy,” Greenberger said.

After nearly four months in the hospital, Connolly returned to St. Ignatius in fall 2007 for his sophomore year. He later transferred to Walter Payton College Prep High School, where he will return for his senior year next month. He is a member of the National Honor Society and is thinking about where he will go to college next year.

”I’m not ruling anything out at this point,” he said.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.