Late within the third quarter within the Hocking Faculty soccer workforce’s recreation towards Sussex Neighborhood Faculty on Sept. 11, 2021, kicker Caden Cox’s quantity was referred to as. The ball was snapped, and Cox despatched it hovering between the aim posts, cementing his place in historical past as the primary faculty soccer participant with Down syndrome to attain.

Now, Cox is suing the varsity, its president and several other others within the U.S. District Court docket for the Southern District of Ohio alleging discrimination, assault, retaliation and that directors failed to guard him from a hostile and discriminatory work atmosphere.

Hocking Faculty, in Nelsonville, Ohio, didn’t reply to a request for remark.

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“The very last thing we wished was a lawsuit,” Mari Cox, Caden Cox’s mom, stated in a press release. “This school has been a significant a part of our lives. Caden had an important expertise earlier than this occurred. We simply felt like our complaints to directors went nowhere.”

In keeping with the lawsuit, Caden Cox’s boss on the Pupil Heart and Campus Recreation verbally and bodily harassed him. Matthew Kmosko, who was employed in June 2021, used the R-word and different derogatory language round Cox and yelled at and berated him in entrance of different workers, the go well with alleged, including that he additionally requested Cox for hugs and seemed via his cellphone with out permission.

The lawsuit additionally detailed harassment complaints made by three different student-employees about Kmosko, who it stated was employed immediately by the school president, Betty Younger, as a favor to a board trustee and with no customary background test. That background test would have revealed home violence costs from 2010 via 2016 in Florida, in accordance with the lawsuit.

Younger and the board failed to guard Cox, the lawsuit alleges, by neglecting to run a background test on Kmosko and or deal with complaints towards his conduct, which created a hostile and discriminatory office atmosphere. The college officers retaliated towards him after he complained, the go well with alleged.

Cox “suffered and continues to undergo excessive emotional trauma and struggling as evidenced by heightened anxiousness, concern, insomnia, nightmares, and despair,” the lawsuit claimed.

Cox’s mom filed a criticism with human sources in July 2021. Not less than two written notices describing Kmosko’s conduct towards Cox had already been delivered to Younger and Hocking Faculty, in accordance with the lawsuit.

In January 2022, Cox’s mom emailed one other criticism and requested that Kmosko get replaced as her son’s supervisor, saying he referred to as her son the R-word, took his cellphone and put his palms on Cox inappropriately. Cox was given a brand new supervisor, however Kmosko’s conduct escalated, the lawsuit alleged.

In keeping with the lawsuit, on Could 12, 2022, Kmosko adopted Cox into the lads’s room, the place he went to alter the rubbish luggage. Kmosko blocked the exit and “started to scream at (Cox) that he instructed him to alter the trash whereas pointing a black-handled, silver knife” at Cox’s chest, the go well with claimed.

Cox returned to the entrance desk shaken, then Kmosko referred to as him and stated, “I see you thru the window. Stand up and do one thing,” earlier than hanging up, in accordance with the lawsuit.

Safety digital camera footage reveals Kmosko strolling out and in of the lavatory carrying a weapon, the lawsuit stated. Cox’s household filed a report with Hocking Faculty police, and Kmosko was charged and convicted of menacing. Kmosko was permitted to resign from his place, and his personnel file doesn’t include any data or complaints towards his conduct — together with the knife incident, the lawsuit alleged.

“Since that incident, (Cox) has continued to undergo from trauma and its manifestations,” the lawsuit alleged. Cox not felt secure on campus, and infrequently turned upset when he noticed a crimson automotive on campus, much like the colour Kmosko drove. Regardless of assurances from the college president, Cox was faraway from his job within the scholar middle and reassigned to a job performing reenactments outdoors that was not medically secure for him and made him uncomfortable.

Cox confronted different “clear” retaliation, in accordance with the go well with. Although Cox acquired sufficient votes to win three awards for fall graduates, every week after his legal professionals despatched Younger a letter detailing the claims of discrimination, harassment and assault, his father — additionally an worker at Hocking — observed he was listed to obtain just one award.

Kevin Cox later realized that his son had been stripped of his awards by college employees, particularly the president, the go well with alleged.

“Younger and different Hocking Faculty directors’ blatant and egregious retaliation towards (Cox), a graduating scholar athlete with Down syndrome, is obvious from the timeline of occasions that led to Hocking Faculty taking two of his awards away the day earlier than his commencement,” the go well with alleged.

Cox is searching for a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages, and for the varsity to enact and observe insurance policies defending college students from harassment, abuse and discriminatory conduct.

In keeping with his lawyer, Cox is anticipated to enroll in a postsecondary transitional program for college kids with disabilities at The Ohio State College within the fall.

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