By Janie Southard
A Celina Middle School student has been expelled by board action for 80 days and suspended for an additional 10 days, even though he has already filed an appeal in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
The student, his parents and their attorney, William Huber of St. Marys, attended the board meeting Monday.
After an executive session, the board unanimously voted to "affirm the expulsion" of the student, Dalton Germann, who the board named in public session.
In addition to the 80 days, the student also will serve a 10-day suspension, making a total of 90 days, which is half the school year. The school's procedure is to suspend for 10 days first and then issue an expulsion. At the time of the incident, Celina Police Chief David Slusser issued a news release stating the department had investigated a report of two 13-years-olds engaged in sexual activity while attending an in-class movie on June 2, the last day of school.
The newspaper also received information later that the two seventh-graders were having oral sex during the classroom movie.
According to court records obtained this morning by The Daily Standard, Germann has appealed the school district's 10-day suspension decision in Mercer County Common Pleas Court. The appeal was filed July 25.
The court action is called an appeal of administrative agency, not a civil lawsuit. Instead of financial damages sought by a typical lawsuit, Germann's action seeks only to have his 10-day suspension (Aug. 23-Sept. 6) overturned.
Paperwork filed by Huber does not present any arguments on his client's behalf. Instead, it simply asks the court to review the school district's actions.
Late last week, Huber filed a motion seeking a stay of the suspension until the court can hear the facts of the case. Without a stay, Germann will have to serve the suspension before his case is heard in court.
"In light of the fact that the matter cannot be heard by this court until after the time of the designated suspension, the plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if the suspension is in fact imposed," Huber wrote. "It would essentially render this particular action moot should the court choose not to uphold the action of the Celina city school board."
The district is represented by the Cleveland law firm of Pepple & Waggoner Ltd.
Neither the female student nor her representative attended the board meeting; however, discipline for both students will be consistent with school policy, board members said. According to Superintendent Matt Miller, the female student and her parents already have accepted the terms of the school policy with regard to discipline in this instance.
Neither student will attend public school for the given period.
"What will happen is that we will meet with the students and parents after the first nine weeks to determine if certain conditions of the expulsion have been met, such as meeting with counselors. We will then decide if they are ready to return to the classroom," Miller said following the meeting.