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Suit involving essay on Jesus is dismissed

Published: Fri, August 16, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

BROOKFIELD -- A $1.5 million federal lawsuit contending the Brookfield School District wouldn't allow a pupil to write about Jesus has been dismissed.
Atty. Mark S. Colucci of Youngstown said Thursday the lawsuit will be refiled in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
The suit was filed July 1 in U.S. District Court in Youngstown by Peggy E. Koehler of Hazelton Street on behalf of her 14-year-old son, Phillip M. Vaccaro.
In it, she contends a teacher assigned Phillip's middle school class to write about the most influential people in their lives.
When Phillip indicated he planned to write about Jesus, the lawsuit says, "The teacher abruptly cautioned him to select another topic."
Brookfield Superintendent Joe White did not return a message asking him to comment.
The federal case was assigned to Judge Dan Polster in Akron.
Colucci said he decided to refile in Trumbull County because jurors will be closer to the case.
Another reason, Colucci noted, is a federal civil jury of eight must be unanimous for a verdict on behalf of the plaintiff, while only six of eight are needed in common pleas court.

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