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N.C. State Youth Camp Hazing Lawsuit Can Proceed, Judge Rules

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NEWLAND, N.C. — A March trial date has been set for a lawsuit involving hazing at a North Carolina State University youth basketball camp.

Judge James Baker ruled this week that the lawsuit, which accuses Avery County officials of negligently supervising students who allegedly assaulted teammates during the basketball camp in 2003, could proceed.

Last week, attorneys for the defendants -- Avery County Board of Education and Avery County High School officials -- argued the lawsuit should be thrown out because state law grants school districts sovereign immunity from lawsuits.

Baker ruled the lawsuit against the high school officials can proceed, but dismissed the lawsuit against the Board of Education.

Two Avery County High School students pleaded guilty to simple assault and misdemeanor hazing in 2003, and other defendants were dealt with in juvenile court.

In response to the hazing, high school officials suspended the boys involved, approved a new hazing policy and punished members of its athletics staff.

The teen was one of 10 younger boys assaulted by his teammates, according to the complaint. The coaches considered the attacks "a rite of passage for the younger players in the Avery High basketball program," according to the lawsuit.

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