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AMHS parents file lawsuit over claims of team’s watermelon ritua - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

AMHS parents file lawsuit over claims of team’s watermelon ritual

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The parents of three football players at Academic Magnet High School have filed a lawsuit claiming the reputations of their sons have been damaged.

The lawsuit was filed on November 21st, and is centered on the investigation and reporting of the team's post-game watermelon ritual.

The parents were all identified in the five page document, but the initials of their children were only used.

James Moore Jr, Betty Moore, Amy and Lee Garrard, and Dean and Kathryn Frailey are suing the Charleston County School District, Kevin Clayton and the company he works for Axxis Consulting Company, and Jones Street Publishers, LLC, the parent company of The Charleston City Paper.

Claims in the lawsuit state the investigation by the Charleston County School District and Axxis Consulting Company falsely portrayed their son's post-game watermelon ritual as racist.

The document also has quotes from an article posted in the Charleston City Paper called "Mob Rules."

A section of the lawsuit states, "The article when read as a whole, falsely accuses the football team and plaintiffs of being racist. The publication of the false statements about the plaintiffs injured the plaintiffs' reputations."

There was a lot of community backlash last month following the firing and rehiring of AMHS head football coach Bud Walpole. Football players were questioned by Kevin Clayton and Associate Superintendent Lou Martin. The men issued a formal recommendation to former Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley to fire the coach.

Parents were outraged over the investigation process and the firing of Walpole. The NAACP was one of the groups that spoke out in support of the coach being fired, and held press conferences in opposition when he was reinstate two days later by Dr. McGinley.

McGinley officially resigned a week later after seven years as the district superintendent.

A spokesperson with the Charleston County School District said in a statement, "This is pending litigation and we decline to comment at this time."

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