The primary soccer participant with Down syndrome to attain for an NCAA staff is suing his former school for discrimination and harassment

  • Caden Cox, the primary NCAA soccer participant with Down syndrome to attain, is suing his former school for discrimination.
  • The lawsuit says a faculty worker at Hocking Faculty relentlessly harassed Cox and threatened him with a knife.
  • The lawsuit additionally claims the varsity retaliated after Cox reported the incident, stripping him of a number of awards.

A former school soccer participant who was the primary participant with Down syndrome to attain in an NCAA soccer sport is suing his former faculty, alleging a number of staff discriminated in opposition to him after which retaliated when he complained.

Caden Cox filed the lawsuit on Thursday in an Ohio federal court docket via his mom, Mari Cox, in accordance with court docket paperwork.

Cox made historical past in 2021 when he kicked an additional level for Hocking Faculty of their sport in opposition to Sussex Neighborhood Faculty. Caden’s father, Kevin Cox, the previous particular groups coach for Hocking Faculty, advised ESPN in 2021 that Caden’s dream was to be the kicker for Ohio State College.

“If that is that child’s dream, I am by no means going to inform him no,” Kevin Cox advised ESPN.

The lawsuit accuses Matt Kmosko, the Hocking Faculty scholar middle supervisor, of constructing “abusive, derogatory, and inappropriate feedback” to Caden and bodily harassing him after he began working there.

“Particularly, Mr. Kmosko would constantly make derogatory slurs about people with Down Syndrome to Plaintiff throughout work hours, use the phrase ‘retarded’ and degrade his talents, and berate and yell at Plaintiff ceaselessly and in entrance of his co-workers,” the criticism says.

Kmosko additionally went via Caden’s cellphone with out permission, requested Caden to present him hugs, and despatched aggressive textual content messages to Caden whereas looking at him “menacingly,” the lawsuit says.

Cox’s household despatched written complaints about Kmosko to the varsity in July 2021 and January 2022, in accordance with the criticism.

The criticism says that on Might 12, 2022, Kmosko’s harassment got here to a head when he adopted Caden right into a restroom and threatened him with a knife.

“When Plaintiff was capable of return to the entrance desk, shaken and scared, he obtained a cellphone name from Mr. Kmosko, who mentioned, ‘Caden, I see you thru the window, rise up and do one thing,’ then he hung up,” the criticism says.

Cox’s household reported Kmosko to the police on Might 16, 2022. He was later charged and convicted of “menacing,” a misdemeanor in Ohio, associated to the knife incident.

The lawsuit says Cox graduated in December 2022 and was alleged to earn the varsity’s scholar-athlete award, Hocking Faculty trustee award, and the inspirational award. However, after Cox’s attorneys despatched a letter to the varsity on Dec. 2 notifying it of the discrimination claims, the varsity solely gave him the inspirational award.

The lawsuit claims that was an act of retaliation.

On Jan. 10, Cox’s attorneys up to date his discrimination criticism to incorporate the details about his withheld awards. On the identical day, each Cox’s mother and father, who have been staff of the varsity, obtained an e-mail from the human sources division that mentioned they have been “interrupting the workday,” citing the varsity’s “Youngsters at Work” coverage, in accordance with the criticism. 

The lawsuit says the varsity additionally advised Cox’s mother and father that they would want to take trip time to testify in Kmosko’s legal trial after they have been subpoenaed.

The lawsuit calls for a trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages from all defendants, together with the Hocking Faculty Board of Trustees, Hocking Faculty President Betty Younger, Kmosko, and 5 unnamed defendants. 

Hocking Faculty didn’t instantly return Insider’s request for remark Sunday.