A 14-year-old Yorktown High School student and her mother have filed a lawsuit against the school district, the superintendent of schools, high school principal and assistant principal after the freshman girl was suspended from school for a year for being in possession of a marijuana cigarette.
According to court documents, the student – referred to as "A.S" – had a marijuana cigarette in her wallet when she attended a "movie night" at the high school on Dec. 21, 2012. During the movie, the student told her friend that she had a marijuana cigarette. Later in the evening an older student – referred to as "Jane Smith" – approached the freshman girl, asked for the cigarette and was given it.
According to the lawsuit (attached to this article), there was no disciplinary action against "Jane Smith."
About two and a half weeks later, the girl, a high honor roll student, was brought to the assistant principal's office when she explained she had not smoked the marijuana cigarette not had she intended to smoke it, according to the lawsuit filed on Jan. 29.
During the meeting, disciplinary proceedings began against the 14-year-old student, who was given a five-day suspension and required to complete three-counseling sessions with the school therapist.
The lawsuit claims, when assistant principal Randall Glading was speaking to the student, he did not close the door of his office, other students heard the conversation, which caused "A.S. embarrassment and other emotional harm."
The 14-year-old girl, who according to the lawsuit is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had immigrated with her mother from Russia when she was 6 years old, has no prior suspensions.
At a later meeting on Jan. 9, the girl and her mother were informed the student would be suspended for one academic year, but she would be allowed to return to school, on a probationary basis, in three months.
The lawyer for the family states in the lawsuit that they were "railroaded" and "threatened that if they did not agree to the one-year suspension, and continued to a hearing," there might be a longer suspension.
"The disciplinary action imposed by defendants, violated Plaintiffs' substantive due process right, in that it was arbitrary and capricious, and failed to adhere to standards of fundamental fairness, as the disciplinary action imposed was not appropriate to the serious nature of the offense and did not consider the absence of any previous disciplinary record," Chappaqua based lawsuits Todd J. Krouner and Diana M. Carlino wrote in the lawsuit.
Yorktown Central School District Spokesperson Karli Wheeler said the district cannot comment out of respect for the student and the law.
"The district cannot comment on personal matters," she said.
According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking unspecified damages for "emotional distress, current and future medical and related counseling bills, current and future, educational and related expenses, punitive damages, costs and attorneys' fees."
In addition, the family is seeking the school district to expunge the student's records in reference to all disciplinary actions and allow her to return to school.
The lawyers for the family said a Court’s order states that the school district’s response to an Order to Show Cause is due on Feb. 4. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that a defendant must answer within 21 days of being served with the summons and complaint.