Suspended De La Salle football players sue high school, alleging discrimination

Fox 2 Investigative Reporter

The families of two Black students and one Hispanic student suspended by De La Salle Collegiate just filed a lawsuit claiming that the private Catholic high school in Warren discriminated against the young men by suspending them for their roles in an alleged hazing incident while allowing 10 white students who are also suspected to remain in school.

The lawsuit alleges that the suspended students were blackmailed because they say school President John Knight offered to let them return to school if they provided the names of other students involved in the incident. 

The lawsuit says the three students have missed 46 days of school, jeopardizing the graduation chances two of the students. The students did agree to speak to an independent investigator hired by the school and say they expect that investigation to clear their names.

The head coach, Mike Giannone, was placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 7, but we have just learned he has been fired.

A statement from a school spokesperson reads: “We cannot comment on legal matters. Since we were first made aware of the hazing activities, we have been steadfast in maintaining the safety, health and education of all De La Salle students as our top priority while we navigate this troubling issue. We have been working in full collaboration with our Board of Trustees and the Christian Brothers on all actions in response to the hazing allegations and will continue to do so as we address this lawsuit. Our hearts and prayers are with those impacted by the hazing, particularly the students who were victimized and their families.”

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There have been 10 white students who have been named in the investigation, but have not been suspended, said attorney Paul Addis. He adds the treatment for all the students be treated the same.

"My clients had nothing to do with it, my clients were not involved," Addis said.