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Former Roncalli student with Down syndrome bullied by football players sues school, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The family of a former student at Roncalli High School is suing the school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, alleging that the school did nothing serious about the student being bullied by football players, according to WIBC.

The former student, who has Down syndrome, is referred to in the lawsuit as “John Doe.”

In 2019, Doe was bullied and harassed by Roncalli football players, according to Doe’s mother. She said that the players recorded Doe peeing in the restroom and posted the video to social media.

The student’s mother reported the incident to the dean of students, and the football players’ punishment consisted of detention and being forced to delete the video. She said that the players were still allowed to play in the game that weekend.

The players are also accused of forcing the student to lick another boy’s nipple.

Doe’s mother pulled him from Roncalli, citing its “hostile and unsafe environment.”

The lawsuit alleges that Roncalli violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide the student an environment free from discrimination.

Roncalli High School is a Catholic high school located on the city’s south side.

In 2019, a different lawsuit was filed against the school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis by a former guidance counselor who was suspended over her same-sex marriage. The lawsuit alleged discrimination by the school.

Statement from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

“We were made aware of an incident that occurred between students in September 2019 as was extensively reported by the media in late 2019. Roncalli High School staff learned of the alleged incident and reported it to the Department of Child Protective Services. Roncalli and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis fully cooperated with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department during its investigation. No criminal charges were filed in the matter. In February 2020, the archdiocese received a letter from the plaintiff’s new lawyer advising the archdiocese that the plaintiff had secured new counsel. Until today’s filing, the archdiocese never received any communication from counsel for the plaintiff. The safety and well-being of every student is of utmost importance to us. Roncalli High School offers an exceptional educational and faith formation experience in a safe, secure environment. The school’s special education program has served hundreds of students with disabilities in an exemplary manner. We continue to pray for all involved in this situation.”

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