Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Douche Bag[s] Case Federal Hearing

An Aug. 22 Date
In U.S. District Court

By Jacqueline Manning
Bristol Press

NEW HAVEN - The case of a Lewis Mills High School senior who is suing Regional School District No. 10 officials who removed her from elective class office after she allegedly used a derogatory term to describe them in an e-mail is expected to move to U.S. District Court at an Aug. 22 hearing.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz set the tentative Aug. 23 date for a hearing on a preliminary injunction in the freedom of speech complaint of Avery Doninger against Region 10 Superintendent Paula Schwartz and Lewis Mills High School Principal Karissa Niehoff.

Attorney John Schoenhorn, who is representing Doninger, initially filed the case in New Britain Superior Court on July 16 for a temporary injunction to overturn the results of high school's May 22 student council elections, citing Doninger was unconstitutionally denied her right to participate. Doninger had been removed the office and denied the opportunity to run.

Schoenhorn contends Schwartz and Niehoff retaliated for a degrading comment Doninger posted from her home computer on a public blogsite about the central office canceling the school's student band "Jamfest."

The original matter was scheduled in New Britain state court Monday morning.

However, attorneys representing Schwartz and Niehoff, filed July 26 to have the case moved to federal court. Attorney Katherine Rule and Thomas Gerarde of Howd and Ludorf LCC of Hartford filed the motion on behalf of Schwartz and Niehoff.

Region 10 Board of Education attorney Christine Chinni would not say why Rule and Gerarde were brought onto the defense team. "It's a privileged matter," Chinni said Monday.

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