Complaint against school withdrawn

By Tim Yovich

Attorney says the question of damages for a senior student still looms against the school district.

WARREN — A Girard High School senior has withdrawn his complaint for a restraining order so he could attend school functions, but still won’t graduate with his classmates.

Attorney Dennis DiMartino, who withdrew the complaint Monday on behalf of 18-year-old David B. West III, said he took the action in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court because “it wouldn’t be prudent” to seek the action against the school district and after “considerable discussions” with the district’s attorney.

West was banned from school events in a May 2 letter to him from William Ryser, high school principal, after an April 13 party at West’s East Second Street home. West claimed it was an “impromptu gathering” in which other students and adults brought beer and other intoxicants with them to the nonschool function.

DiMartino said West, who remains in school, will not be able to attend any school activities, including the June 1 commencement and the senior breakfast. He will be able to attend a senior awards event.

Judge W. Wyatt McKay set a status call for July 17, long after commencement.

DiMartino said the case isn’t completed because there remains an issue of damages for what he terms “selective prosecution” by the district. He claimed other students who were charged by police at the party did not receive as severe punishment as West.

West was informed in Ryser’s letter that he was banned from school activities. The principal informed West that participation in extracurricular activities is a privilege and not a right.

Ryser charged that West hosted the party at which underage students were drinking. He wrote that West suggested violence against and verbally abused students he thought reported him having the party.

Police charged students and adults, but not West, at the time of the party.

However, Girard police charged West with providing alcohol to an underage person May 12 – four days after West filed the complaint against the district. He is scheduled for arraignment today in Girard Municipal Court.

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