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WEST BRANCH Former student files suit



Published: Sat, February 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The dispute was apparently over a group of students who left school grounds without permission.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A former West Branch High School student, expelled for a fight with an administrator, is suing the school district and the administrator, who is now dead.

Aston Tedford, who now lives in Vienna, W.Va., is seeking $900,000 in damages in a lawsuit filed this week in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Defendants are Superintendent Louis Ramunno and Gary Andreani, a former associate principal.

Andreani died last fall, Ramunno said.

Ramunno had not seen the lawsuit but said he remembers the matter that triggered it. He declined to comment, saying it was a disciplinary matter that had been handled internally.

The suit says Tedford was walking in a hallway with a group of other students Feb. 1, 2000, when Andreani called for them to stop. When they didn't immediately stop, he grabbed Tedford by her arms and repeatedly slammed her against a wall, the suit says.

According to Vindicator files, the dispute was over Tedford and her group's leaving school grounds for lunch without permission, which is against school policy.

What's in suit: The suit says when Tedford defended herself, Andreani called police and Tedford was charged with assault. The charge was later reduced to disorderly conduct and she was found guilty, according to Vindicator files.

Smith Township police reports showed that Tedford kicked Andreani during the confrontation.

If Tedford had been convicted of the original felony charge, she would not have been allowed to enter the military, which she planned then to do and has since done.

The suit says Tedford was coerced into accepting an offer to be home-schooled so she could graduate on time. She was not allowed to attend graduation ceremonies with the rest of her class.

bjackson@vindy.com




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