Parents sue Henrico Schools, employees following disturbing 2017 middle school locker room video

Parents sue Henrico Schools, employees following disturbing 2017 middle school locker room video

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - A mother and father are suing the county’s school district for $350,000 following a disturbing video that was taken inside the Short Pump Middle School locker room in 2017.

The video was posted by a student to SnapChat showing black football players pinned down against their will as other teammates simulated sexual acts on them while shouting racist rants.

"I felt sad for my child that he had to experience this,” a parent told NBC12 in 2017, asking not to be identified.

Two years later, in an 11-page lawsuit, the parents of one child claim they notified the school a week before the offensive video, alerting them of an altercation among football players where they say black players were being harassed and bullied by at least one white football player in the locker room.

The parents say the school promised to provide adult supervision going forward but eight days later, the inappropriate video was recorded in the locker room. They say at least two black football players were victimized.

"As a player that didn’t have anything to do with it, it’s kind of a kick in the gut,” a teammate told NBC12 in 2017 reacting to the school system’s decision to suspend the team. “It was a horrible decision made by middle school kids and kids make mistakes but they shouldn’t happen like this.”

No criminal charges followed a police investigation, but the school district fired an assistant coach and hired a Director of Equity and Diversity.

"I’m very concerned about his mental status and his well being,” the unidentified parent said.

In the lawsuit, two parents allege their then 12-year-old child was taunted and teased days after the video made its rounds on social media. They say the school environment became so hostile, they transferred him to another school. The lawsuit says he was impacted so badly that he did not return to the locker room or attend practice after the video was recorded.

The suit lists Henrico County Public School (HCPS) district, the principal, football coach and athletic director for the Oct. 13, 2017 incident as defendants. Documents say they had a duty to ensure “a safe, non-discriminatory and inclusive educational and extra-curricular environment.”

Friday afternoon, Henrico Schools spokesperson Andy Jenks said the district is aware of the lawsuit but had not yet been “officially served with the complaint.” The statement continues:

"Regardless, we were saddened by the contents of video recordings of the incident which were widely condemned by HCPS at the time. As was made clear then and throughout the ensuing two years, there is no place in Henrico County Public Schools for the behavior depicted in the videos of that incident.
- Henrico County Public Schools Statement

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