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High school football coach victim of bullying lawsuit

RENO, Nev. – Three former Nevada high school football players have filed a federal lawsuit that says they had to leave the team after they challenged bullying of their coach.

The lawsuit names the coach, Galena High School principal and Washoe County School District, the Reno Gazette-Journal http://on.rgj.com/2j8EKpD).

Bullying by a coach runs afoul of district policy, said lawyer Terri Keyser-Cooper, who as a representative of a Mateo Lemus, Bryan Madison, and Jake Berger.

Coach Steve Struzyk, who coached the team for 15 seasons, could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit says Struzyk stripped of the team captains of their leading role in front of the rest of the varsity players after the school discovered that the three athletes had used an over-the-counter, testosterone-boosting supplement.

The Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association does not prohibit the supplement, Keyser-Cooper said.

The lawsuit says Lemus left the team after a conversation with the coach. Lemus said: “I am not the kind of person to bend over and take this,” the coach replied, “You better learn to duck if I tell you.”

The lawsuit says the other two players were started the team after asking the coach to let Lemus to come back.

Galena won no games after three players were cut Sept. 17. The team ended the season 2-7.

The lawsuit wants the monetary damages and legal costs.

“So what’s really traumatic for these children is that they were already going to football scholarships,” Keyser-Cooper said. “Football is an essential part of their life, which they dedicated tremendous time and attention.”

A statement released after the lawsuit was filed, says the Washoe County School District is looking into the matter.

“The District always takes very seriously allegations of misconduct by employees. As with any matter relating to employees and litigation, it is not suitable for the District to leave a comment or litigate these matters in the press,” the statement says. “In the Quarter, but take all these allegations seriously and is looking into this matter.”

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Information from: Reno Gazette-Journal, http://www.rgj.com

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