What is wrong with some people?
http://www.recordonline.com/archive/200 ... /gun08.htm
Edit: says you need to be registered, but didn't the first time I found it so.
District sued over suspension
By Alice Kenny
A Circleville family has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the authority of a school district to discipline students for incidents occurring off school grounds.
Back in June, a Valley Central High School student froze an egg, stuffed it into a high-powered "potato launcher," then shot it at a passing school bus, shattering the bus window and spraying glass into a child's eyes, neck and shoulder. This week, the egg shooter's father sued the school district for punishing his son.
According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court by parent Steve Valastro, the Valley Central school district and its superintendent, Richard Hooley, violated his 17-year-old son's civil rights by suspending him from school for five months, from September 2004 until the end of this month. Valastro is seeking unspecified damages plus attorney fees and court costs.
This marks the fifth case that attorney Michael H. Sussman of Goshen has filed in the past year against local school districts for disciplining students. He won the first four cases, he said, and expects to win this one as well.
Valley Central's disciplinary code addresses only student acts performed on school grounds, Sussman said. Since the teen stood on his own property when he shot the spud gun, the school district had no right to discipline him, he said.
"School districts do not have responsibility outside their own parameters to regulate children's conduct," Sussman said. Because of the suspension, he added, the teen, a champion wrestler in his senior year of high school, could lose out on college scholarships because he was not allowed to compete in matches.
"It's possible the family could make money because their rights were violated," the attorney said. "That's how the system works."
Hooley declined to comment. But parents of children who were on the attacked bus had plenty to say.
"The nerve to do something like that!" shouted Jay Buchalski, a state police trooper whose daughter sat two seats back from the shattered windows. "Parents should get together and sue the kid's parents."
Terry Marotta, whose 16-year-old daughter was covered with shattered glass, agreed. The frozen egg went in one window and out another on the other side of the bus, she said.
"If it had hit someone directly, the person could have been blinded, handicapped or killed," Marotta said. "If I were the parent, I wouldn't brush it under the rug as if it were some kind of high school prank."
Valastro refused to comment for this story. Speaking on his behalf, Sussman said the criminal justice system has already disciplined the teen, whose name is not being used because of his age and the low level of the charge. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and will likely be sentenced next month to three years' probation and 50 hours of community service.
"Due process requires notice of what behaviors can be punished," Sussman said. "Without that notice, you can't exercise that authority."
Court judges have sided with Sussman in similar cases. In May, Orange County Judge Stewart Rosenwasser ruled that Newburgh Free Academy could not continue suspending Elzie Coleman, an 18-year-old student and Olympic-caliber sprinter who had been involved in a series of fistfights outside school. In September, Stephen Robinson, a federal judge in White Plains, ruled that Yonkers high school students who had been suspended for protesting budget cuts should be allowed to return to their classes.
The following month, another federal court judge, Colleen McMahon, ordered the Warwick School District to reinstate Brook Banker, a suspended high school volleyball star. The district failed to allow Banker to dispute the charges of having alcohol at school before punishing her, the judge ruled. And last month, the court ruled that a 16-year-old boy from Minisink should be returned to school because the girls he's accused of sexually abusing had gone unpunished in connection with the boy's countercharge that their behavior was consensual, violating the boy's right of equal protection under the law.
"Everything is going haywire," Buchalski said. "It is a strange world anymore."