The parents of two Florida high school baseball players are suing the school district, accusing coaches and administrators of not intervening when the students were allegedly hazed, incidents which they say included racist remarks and sexual harassment, according to court documents.
The alleged hazing occurred during the 2017 to 2018 school year, when the students, identified as "J.N.," 17, and Jay King, 18, played on the varsity baseball team for East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, the court document states. After one of their practices, the two were "intimidated and harassed" told to go to a "secluded spot on school grounds" by other members of the baseball team, according to the lawsuit, filed in a Pinellas County court on Jan. 24.
Both students were sophomores at the time, ABC Tampa affiliate WFTS reported.
With no teachers, coaches or school administrators present, J.N. and Jay King were then led to a wooded area behind the baseball fields to participate in a hazing ritual called the "Oreo Run," which involves "placing an Oreo cookie in one's buttocks and racing other players, with the losers of the race eating the used Oreo cookies," the document states.
J.N. then "desperately ran through the muddy, wooded area," as his teammates chased him, "yelling verbal insults at him and trying to grab him," according to the lawsuit.
The other members of the team stopped trying to force Jay King to participate in the Oreo Run after he threatened to call 911, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that both students were subjected to increased bullying and retaliation by both their teammates and coaches for refusing to participate in the Oreo Run. This would include some team members exposing their genitals to them during stretching as well as hugging others from behind during practice to imitate "sexual thrusting," the document says.
"Some of the sexual depravity and harassment described above happened many times in full view of some of the coaches," according to the document. In addition, J.N. and Jay King were allegedly called the N-word to their faces during the entirety of the baseball season, including allegedly by an assistant coach on at least one occasion.
J.N. and Jay King "continue to suffer from anxiety, worry, insomnia, depression, headaches, and loss of self-esteem" as a result of the harassment, according to the lawsuit.
Shannon Norwood, the mother of J.N. and Charlie King, the father Jay King, claimed that Pinellas County Schools failed to "adequately and properly" supervise the activities of students "in such a manner to maintain order, protect the property, health and safety of students and to foster proper appropriate conditions conducive to learning, when the school was entrusted with their care," according to the lawsuit.
In addition, Norwood and Charlie King have incurred expenses related to relocating their children to different schools, the document states. They were transferred to schools in a different school district, according to WFTS.
The lawsuit seeks damages of $15,000 "exclusive of interest and costs."
Charlie King told WFTS that he knew something was wrong when he noticed his son's behavior start to change.
Norwood also noticed a difference in her son.
"He had become real silent, quiet, lost interest in a lot of things," Norwood, a single mother, told the local station.
Norwood said the school "failed" her child, adding that she hopes no student in the future has to deal with similar treatment.
"You didn't protect my child," she said. "You allowed this behavior to continue."
In a statement to ABC News, Pinellas County Schools Public Information Officer Lisa Wolf said the school board "fully investigated the incident both internally and externally and found there was no negligence on the part of our staff."