Mother sues McIntosh County Schools over alleged hazing

(WTGS file)

The third of three lawsuits against the McIntosh County Board of Education was filed Tuesday. The mother of a boy who says he was hazed while at football practice is suing the board and her son's former football coach for $2 million.

The district has already been sued by the school's former principal and the former school chief of police.

Attorney Katie Mitchell says she's representing Courtney Ward, the mother of a former football player who says he was was not only hazed, but got severely hurt at practice and head coach Robby Robinson did noting about it.

"(Robinson) willfully chose not only to not address the issue, he also dismissed the young man when the young man got hurt, with an off-handed remark that he needed to toughen up," Mitchell said.

We spoke to JJ Ellison and his grandmother back in September of 2016.

"JJ's momma told the coach that someone was going to hit him at practice and we thought something was going to be done," said JJ's grandmother, Gidget Laroche.

Mitchell says the following week, ward went to the board of education meeting demanding action against head coach Robinson.

Instead, she says the board ignored her statements, and removed principal Barry Lollis, who Mitchell says had been helpful to her client.

That move to transfer Lollis led to more issues for the board of education. The school district is now under state review and in danger of losing its accreditation.

At the end of 2017, Superintendent John Barge says he was concerned after not hearing back from the board about a contract extension. He chose to resign in December, but in January, the board brought him back, with a 3-2 vote to reinstate him.

The two board members who voted against Barge's contract extension are James McKenzie and Sandy McDonald. They're the same two board members who agreed to transfer Barry Lollis out of the principal job in 2016, and then fire him entirely in 2017.

Lollis has filed one of two other ongoing lawsuits against the board of education.

The third lawsuit was filed by Dan Lodise, the former school police chief who was also fired by the same board members.

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