Yakima High School (Washington State); Moxee School District
Paddling of new members wearing burlap sacks; under supervision of a coach
Henry A. Sherwood, the unlucky one of 16 initiates, drowned wearing a burlap sack after submitting to a paddling. Head football coach Donald L. (Don) Smith was present and overseeing the paddling and subsequent tragedy. School officials took no swift action in the week following the death, and Smith and up to 40 players were questioned by a prosecutor. The parents sued, lost, and won an appeal charging the Moxee school district with negligence that sent the case to trial. News Clipping here.
The case challenged Washington’s flawed law that a school somehow had a sovereign right not to be sued for negligence.