Caden Cox made historical past at Hocking School in 2021 when he turned the primary recognized particular person with Down syndrome to play and rating in a school soccer recreation. Now, he’s suing the junior school, claiming he was discriminated towards, harassed and assaulted.
In a lawsuit filed by his mom, Mari Cox, on Thursday, Mr. Cox accused a former supervisor on the pupil recreation middle the place Mr. Cox labored of “incapacity discrimination, bodily assault, and protracted verbal harassment.”
Mr. Cox burst onto the nationwide sports activities scene within the fall of 2021, after kicking a third-quarter area aim and went on to kick three extra that season, incomes a characteristic on ESPN. Months later, he created a clothes assortment with the model Jake Max, that includes the college’s colours.
“They stated he couldn’t even go to school and look the place he’s,” Mari Cox advised the community on the time.
Mr. Cox additionally labored whereas attending Hocking School, a group school in Nelsonville, Ohio, the place the swimsuit alleges he was harassed and assaulted by his boss. His supervisor, Matthew Kmosko, is among the many defendants named within the swimsuit, together with Betty Younger, the college president, the board of trustees and 5 unnamed school workers.
Mr. Kmosko, who resigned, was discovered responsible in January of menacing Mr. Cox and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
The school and the board of trustees stated in an emailed assertion that they might not touch upon energetic investigations or pending litigations, however “will cooperate with officers.”
Dr. Younger additionally declined to touch upon the swimsuit, filed within the U.S. District Courtroom for Southern Ohio. “I’m completely satisfied Hocking School may present a possibility for Caden to be a profitable pupil and student-athlete and now a graduate,” she stated in an e-mail, including that the college “stays dedicated to all our college students.”
Mr. Kmosko repeatedly used “derogatory slurs about people with Down syndrome,” degraded Mr. Cox’s talents, as soon as demanded to undergo his telephone and put his hand on Mr. Cox inappropriately, the swimsuit claimed, and he was the topic of different harassment complaints.
In July 2021 and once more in January 2022, Ms. Cox, who additionally works at Hocking School, emailed issues about Mr. Kmosko to high school officers, however his habits solely worsened, the swimsuit stated, culminating with Mr. Kmosko following Mr. Cox into a toilet and threatening him with a knife.
Mr. Cox was granted a safety order towards Mr. Kmosko in Could 2022, however the harassment left him with anxiousness that restricted his capability to go to campus, the swimsuit stated, and he would change into upset each time he noticed a pink automobile much like Mr. Kmosko’s.
The lawsuit blames “the deliberate indifference of Dr. Y-oung and different Hocking personnel” for the trauma Mr. Cox incurred from Mr. Kmosko, for which he’s searching for compensatory and punitive damages.
It additionally accuses the faculty of retaliation, saying it denied Mr. Cox two commencement awards he had been promised after attorneys representing the Cox household delivered a letter to the college administration in early December detailing their allegations.
After graduating from Hocking School final 12 months, Mr. Cox participated in a soccer internship at Texas A&M. He expects to attend Ohio State College within the fall, for a certificates program for college students with disabilities.
“The very last thing we wished was a lawsuit. This school has been a serious a part of our lives,” Ms. Cox stated in an announcement shared by a lawyer.
“Caden had an incredible expertise earlier than this occurred. We simply felt like our complaints to directors went nowhere,” Ms. Cox wrote. “We actually hope this results in a change in how harassment is addressed for all weak college students on the college.”