Court date set for school, family of boy suspended for staring a - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Court date set for school, family of boy suspended for staring at girl

(Photo: FOX19 NOW/Michael Baldwin) (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Michael Baldwin)

The St. Gabriel Consolidated School student suspended for 'staring' at another student will go back to court on Feb. 16.

The parents of the child had sued the school in trial court and lost.

The Tolberts had took the school to court saying the principal was wrong for suspending their son and did not follow the code of conduct in the student handbook.

Candice Tolbert, the child’s mother, believes if the school had followed protocol then their son would have been given a demerit, not suspended for a day.

The 12-year-old boy was suspended from school for 'staring' at another student in September of 2014. 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.

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.” 

The judge in the case said, “It’s not the job of this court to substitute it’s determination if the discipline was right or wrong. That’s not my call."

John Concannon, an education law expert, said this case is rare and many times judges won’t get involved.

“The court won’t substitute its opinion for that of the specialist, the school people,” Concannon said.

St. Gabriel School did not go into detail when FOX19 NOW contacted them from the original court case. They filed their brief last Thursday, where they detailed why they felt justified in the suspension.

The cited the school handbook which states, “Suspension or expulsion can occur in cases of serious offenses.” They cited one reason they can suspend someone if they are “threatening or intimidating acts toward another person.”

Tolbert showed FOX19 NOW the complaint emailed to the school in regards to their child feeling threatened.

In the email, their son’s name was not mentioned. Two other students were mentioned and one student had his name crossed off and replaced with their son’s name. They feel that backs up their son’s story that the young girl did not feel “very uncomfortable and fearful” and in fact they claim she was giggling during the incident."

“So you’re going to tell me the 12-year-old girl who was fearful, the mothers not going to get right who [her daughter] is afraid of?” Tolbert said.

It’s not clear who the second student is. The court paperwork only mentions one other student involved in the staring but does not mention the other child in an email given to FOX19 NOW.

Tolbert said that child was never interviewed, but she believes the original email contains the child the 12-year-old girl was “fearful” of not her son.

She says that her son started the “staring game," but never showed any danger to the victim.

The court documents tell a different story.

St. Gabriel School claims that the involved students, “were not friends." They did not eat, play, or study together. [Tolbert’s son] had never played “the staring game” with her before. [Tolbert’s son] did not tell the girl he was joking, nor did he ask her to play the supposed game with him.”

The Tolberts wants the judge to grant them a new trial, their son’s record cleared, and lawyer fees paid for.

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