Yorktown school officials have responded to a marijuana possession lawsuit filed against them by a high school freshman and her mother.
In their response, which was required to be submitted by Monday, Feb. 4, Yorktown school administrators argue the court "should not intervene in a matter of school discipline" between the district and student.
In the lawsuit, a 14-year-old Yorktown High School student and her mother claim the student was treated unfairly by the school district, the superintendent of schools, high school principal and assistant principal when they suspended her from school over possession of a marijuana joint.
To read more about the lawsuit, click here.
According to court documents, the student – referred to as "A.S" – had a marijuana joint in her wallet when she attended a "movie night" at the high school on Dec. 21, 2012. She was later subjected to disciplinary proceedings.
The lawyer for the family states in the lawsuit that the girl and her mother –referred to as "J.D." –were "railroaded" and "threatened" during a meeting that if they did not agree to the one-year suspension, and continued to a hearing," there might be a longer suspension.
Rebecca Valk, an attorney for the Yorktown Central School District, wrote in a affidavit that the girl and her mother waived their right to a hearing and signed an agreement to the suspension and understood the student will be readmitted to school, on a probationary basis, on April 15.
"At no time were J.G. or A.S. coerced into accepting the waiver," Valk wrote. "Rather, they were advised of their options to either accept the waiver on the terms outlined by the district or proceed with the Section 3214 hearing where the building principal may ask the hearing officer to impose a longer penalty tan the offered by waiver."
Valk said the mother was not mislead to believe the suspension would only last five days.
The mother of the girl had expressed "shock" that her daughter would be suspended for three months given she was an honor student who had no disciplinary history, according to court documents.
In response, Valk wrote that she, Principal DeGennaro and Assistant Principal Glading told the woman that the suspension was within the district's range of penalties for this type of offense and that "the possession of a drug on school property is quite serious."
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.