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South Carolina’s Calhoun County Board of Education Pays Up Over an Incident It had Ruled Non-Hazing: The Record of West Virginia

Proposed settlement reached in alleged Calhoun hazing

5/27/2009 9:00 AM
By Justin Anderson -Kanawha Bureau

CHARLESTON — A proposed settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought against the Calhoun County Board of Education over the alleged hazing of a high school football player.

Sherry Patterson of Orma had sued the board, four football players and the parents of three on March 12 over the alleged hazing of her son, Mitchell.

The incident allegedly occurred in the locker room at Calhoun High School during summer football practice in August 2008.

School officials had investigated the incident and found no evidence of hazing.

But in a recent filing in the case, Patterson says her lawyer, Tim Carrico, and the school board have reached a proposed settlement of $15,000. The filing adds that the boy had incurred about $479 in medical bills that have been paid in full.

Patterson filed a motion for authority to compromise and settle all claims with Kanawha Circuit Court last month.

The filing says the board and the plaintiffs have agreed to settle the case, contingent upon the approval of the board’s insurer, National Union Fire Insurance Company.

The motion says that Carrico will collect $3,750 in fees from the settlement and the rest will be used to buy Mitchell a car to travel back and forth to Clay County, where he transferred after the alleged hazing.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker appointed lawyer Troy Giatras to serve as Mitchell’s guardian ad litem to make sure the settlement is in the boy’s best interests.

A hearing has been set for June 3.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-446

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.

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