Contrary to what a pair of lawsuits allege, Clover school officials found no evidence that Clover High has a tradition of students hazing each other, Superintendent Marc Sosne said Thursday.
Sosne, who has led the district since 2007, said he has spoken with former players and students and "found no evidence of any long-standing tradition of hazing."
The lawsuits also take some of his words out of context, Sosne said.
The suits quote him as having said hazing "has been going on for years."
Sosne said that was clipped from a larger quote in a news article in which he explained he was investigating allegations that hazing went on for years.
Two students this week filed civil suits in federal court alleging that after they were bullied, beaten and hazed by older players in a Clover High locker room in September, school employees helped the attackers cover up what happened.
The lawsuits do not identify which defendants were allegedly involved in covering up the events.
'Horse play' or abuse?
Attorneys representing the students from the Breibart law firm couldn't be reached.
Sosne declined to comment further, saying the district hasn't been officially served with the suits. He doesn't plan to discuss it "until we have a chance to review them," he said.
The suits stem from a controversial case last fall, when 13 players were suspended amid allegations that three players - ages 14, 15 and 17 - were hazed.
The incidents took place on three separate days in September at the end of the school day in the varsity football locker room before practice.
School officials asked the York County Sheriff's Office to investigate rumors that at least one student was sexually assaulted with a broom.
On Nov. 3, after the investigation, Solicitor Kevin Brackett and York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant dismissed the allegations as mere "horse play."
The families of two of the victims - the 14-year-old and the 17-year-old - are suing more than 20 defendants, including Sosne, all seven school board members, Clover High Principal Mark Hopkins, head football coach John Devine and several alleged student attackers.
The victims accuse the school district of gross negligence, civil conspiracy, violating the teens' constitutional rights and the Safe Schools Climate Act, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
They're suing the alleged attackers for negligence, assault and battery.
The families are seeking a jury trial and say their children have suffered physical, emotional and psychological pain as well as fright, shock and "loss of enjoyment of life."