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Proctor school district asks judge to dismiss sex discrimination lawsuit

DULUTH — The Proctor School District is seeking the dismissal of a federal sex discrimination lawsuit filed against it last month.

Parents of student attacked after football practice at Proctor High School last fall are suing the school district and former football coaches and superintendents for a civil rights violation related to the assault, alleging they had a prior knowledge of football hazing activities, among other claims.

The student’s parents, whom the Star Tribune is not naming to protect the identity of the victim, filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of their son over the September incident that resulted in the cancellation of the school football season and the resignation of its leader. coach. A former Proctor student and football player was probated in June for assaulting the victim with a plunger and must register as a predatory offender for 10 years.

In a response filed by a Minneapolis law firm this week, the school district denied the allegations, saying those related to the hazing and any school officials’ knowledge of the hazing was “vague” and “ambiguous.”

According to the federal complaint: Hazing related to the toilet plunger was common before and during former coach Derek Parendo’s decade plus at the helm of the team, and was known to coaches, former superintendent John Engelking and other headteachers and guidance counsellors.

The lawsuit states that “all of the defendants have in the past condoned students for sexual and physical harassment of students and assaults by minimizing the acts, failing to ensure the toilet plunger was removed, failing to educate staff and student-athletes about the dangers of hazing and bullying and violating its own policies, procedures and/or state or federal law.”

The victim suffered embarrassment, humiliation, fear of reprisal, intimidation, breach of trust, anxiety and depression, according to the complaint. A statement from him read by his mother in court in June said what happened “will affect my life forever”.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the victim by failing to enforce the harassment and assault policies.

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