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Schools must pay for hazing

November 21, 1998

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - Jurors have awarded more than $45,000 dollars to two former Hedgesville High School students and their parents over hazing incidents at a 1996 band camp.

Jurors reached the verdict Thursday night in the U.S. District Court trial, which began Monday.

The students, who were 14, say they were forced to play the role of prostitutes and assume sexually explicit positions on the final night of the camp.

Jurors awarded $30,000 dollars to a male student and $15,000 dollars to a female student. Both are now 16 years old.

Attorney Mark Jenkinson, who represented the students, said the boy was stripped to his underwear and forced into a sexual position with another boy while being taunted by other students. The other boy has since settled out of court with the school board for an undisclosed amount of money.

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The second plaintiff in the case testified she was paraded against her will in front of the boys' dorm with makeup smeared over her face while wearing an oversized dress, Jenkinson said.

The students continued to be taunted when they returned to school and eventually dropped out of the school, the attorney said.

Jurors also compensated the families for professional counseling expenses.

In addition to the county board of education, the lawsuit also named Frank Aliveto, then-principal of Hedgesville High; marching band director Gary Marvel; and parent chaperone Richard Eckert Sr.

Marvel had said the students were partly to blame because they "assumed the risk" when they agreed to attend the event. He also admitted destroying photographs of some students but said he did so at the request of parents.

The jury excused Aliveto, who is now an assistant superintendent in Berkeley County. But it found that Marvel and Eckert were negligent in their roles as protectors.

It was not immediately clear how the jury's judgment was broken down.

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