A 12-year-old boy is suspended from school for 'staring' at another student. It happened in September of 2014 at St. Gabriel Consolidated School in Glendale. The parents filed suit in Hamilton County Common Pleas court to try and get the suspension erased claiming the school didn’t give their son due process.
A Judge denied the claim, which means as of now the suspension of the 12-year-old stands. “The perception is he intimidated her,” said Candice Tolbert, his mother.
“My son stared at a girl who was engaged in a staring game,” she said. “She giggled the entire time,” she said from her Liberty Township home.
Court paper shows the female student "felt fearful.” The incident happened on a Monday. The school was notified by the girl’s parents on Tuesday. They allegedly notified the Tolbert’s son on Tuesday, but did not tell the Tolbert’s until Wednesday. By that time, their son had already written an apology letter, which the parents said they were unaware of until notified by the school.
In the letter, the 12-year-old wrote, “I never knew she was scared because she was laughing.” It also read, “I understand I done the wrong thing that will never happen again. I will start to think before I do so I am not in this situation.”
We did ask for an on camera interview from the school about the story. The referred us to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Their statement read, “Judge Patrick Dinkelacker listened to the plaintiff’s arguments yesterday, rejected them, and dismissed the complaint against the school. We aren’t going to comment any further on particular issues concerning our students.”
The 12-year-old is Black and the female student is white. We did ask the Tolberts if they felt race played an issue. They said they are not ready to pull out the race card, but are concerned the way their son was treated. They question the punishment their son received and the non-punishment they claim the alleged victim received in an earlier incident.
“The same girl that accused my son of this act of perception of intimidation, aggressively poured milk on someone else’s lunch. When she did that there was no penalties for that. She received nothing for that,” said Candice.
The school sited the handbook, which they feel supports their position on the suspension. It reads in part, “The principal is the final recourse in all disciplinary matters and may waive any and all rules at his/her discretion for just cause.”
The parents are considering appealing the judge’s decision.