South Carolina high school football player alleges hazing

AP News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2015 1:11 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — One of South Carolina's leading high school running backs has sued his former school, alleging players from Allendale-Fairfax High assaulted him this summer as part of hazing ritual condoned by coaches.

Shakur Chisolm and his parents sued Monday. They request an unspecified financial amount to be determined by a jury that would cover Chisolm's medical bills, along with things like emotional distress and mental suffering from the incident.

Chisolm is suing the Allendale County School District and Allendale-Fairfax High School among others.

School Superintendent Leila W. Williams did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Chisolm alleged 15 teammates used "open hands, closed fists, boxing gloves, belt buckles" and other objects to hit him, according to the complaint.

The team camp took place in August. Chisolm's lawsuit said the assault took place with the full consent of head coach Eddie Ford, who was named in the suit.

Chisolm, 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, transferred to another school after the incident and is listed second in state rushing totals with 1,374 yards in seven games for Williston-Elko High. Chisolm has 16 touchdowns this season.

Chisolm's attorney, Fatima Zeidan, said the 17-year-old has found Williston-Elko to be a supportive new family.

But to those who think his football success this season means his complaints are overblown are mistaken, "things like this never go away," said Zeidan.

Chisolm's lawsuit alleges it's a longstanding ritual in Allendale-Fairfax football that newcomers and freshmen were to be "get got," which his complaint said "consisted of being beaten and subjected to systematic and humiliating hazing in various forms by a number of current players and upperclassmen on the team."

Chisolm ran from his teammates and banged on the coaches' doors and asked them to help stop the attack, the complaint said.

While Chisolm hid from his teammates, he alleged he heard Ford tell the offending players, "Did y'all find him yet ... I thought I gave y'all enough time to get him," according to the suit.

Chisolm was caught and beaten. He was able to get away, the suit said, and left the complex where he called his parents and a friend to pick him up.

When Chisolm returned to get his belongings, Ford and Allendale-Fairfax guidance counselor and assistant football coach Cody Brandyburg asked Chisolm not to report the incident. "I have five kids to feed and I am trying to build a state championship football team," Ford told Chisolm, according to the lawsuit.

Chisolm's father, Clifford, got a call from superintendent Williams, who asked that he not talk to law enforcement until the district and high school had the chance to investigate.

The suit said the school district and high school had an anti-hazing policy.

The State Law Enforcement Division was called in to investigate.

Attorney Justin Bamberg, a state representative also representing Chisolm and his family, said they have received no notice that local school leaders took any steps following the incident.

Bamberg said Chisolm wants to share his story so similar incidents don't happen again.