Posted by on June 19, 2019 2:35 am

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Categories: Local News Pottsville Hazing Incident Schuylkill Schools

The Pottsville hazing incident carries on. And there are indications it could extend well into 2020.

Late last week, Pottsville Area School District responded to an amended complaint filed on behalf an 11th-grade student at Pottsville Area High School.

That student — now known as K.S. — claims he is the victim of unfair punishment by the school district administration. He says the school suspended him unjustly following an alleged “hazing” incident during the 2018 football season.

In February, K.S. filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Pottsville Area School District in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

On Friday, June 14, the school filed the latest motion in this lawsuit. The school once again asks Judge Robert D. Mariani to dismiss the K.S. lawsuit because of its baseless claims, according to court documents obtained by The Canary.

“The claims and legal theories asserted in Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint fail to state claim as a matter of law and, accordingly, should be dismissed,” the school writes in its latest motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it.

The motion was filed by John E. Freund III, representing Pottsville schools in this case.

K.S. vs. Pottsville Area School District

For a brief recap, the federal lawsuit against Pottsville Area School District was filed in February 2019. It comes after an anonymous letter submitted to the school district claimed K.S. and several other students on the Pottsville Area High School football team sexually harassed a special needs person in the football locker room.

For reasons unknown, this incident became known as a hazing.

After a questionable hearing procedure — one of the bases for this lawsuit against the school — K.S. received a 10-day out-of-school suspension from the school.

He claims that’s unfair and also hinders his ability to pursue colleges that reject students for disciplinary blemishes on their transcripts. Essentially, the lawsuit suggests, the school administration stacked the deck against him and he became the fall guy for the incident.

The school maintains K.S. is guilty of what he was accused of doing in that letter and that it followed the letter of the law when punishing him.

Timeline for the K.S. Lawsuit Extends Into 2020

K.S. demands a jury trial in this case and barring a dismissal, per the school’s request, or a settlement, we could be headed there.

The court has roughed out a timeline for this case as it heads to a trial.

According to court documents obtained by Coal Region Canary, here are some key calendar dates for K.S. vs. Pottsville Area School District:

  • July 1: Joining additional parties to lawsuit (K.S.)
  • July 1: Final date to amend pleading (K.S.)
  • Dec. 31: Fact discovery to be completed
  • Feb. 1, 2020: All potentially dispositive motions should be filed
  • Feb. 15, 2020: Reports from retained experts due (K.S.)
  • March 15, 2020: Reports from retained experts due (PASD)
  • May 15, 2020: Expert discovery completed

These dates are all subject to change and likely could be moved up. The schedule calls for a final pre-trial conference to be held 30 days after a party asks for a judgement in the case without a trial. And a trial could happen 60 days after that final pre-trial conference.

Disclosures Filed

Each party in this case must provide a list of names of “initial disclosures”. These are people who likely have information pertinent to this case. Based on these lists, nearly 80 people could get wrapped up in this lawsuit before it’s over.

K.S. has 33 individual disclosures listed. On that list include the plaintiff and his parents as well as the head football coach, assistant coach, the head basketball coach, the alleged victim, members of the football team and boys’ basketball team, the school superintendent and high school principal as well as other adults associated with the school and its sports programs.

The school has listed 9 individual disclosures and 53 members of the 2018 Pottsville football team.

READ OUR PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE POTTSVILLE “HAZING” INCIDENT:

 

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