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Dad sues school district after son suspended from playing football

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

October 09. 2017 10:12PM




NASHUA — A father is suing the Nashua School District after it suspended his son from playing football because he damaged a local athletic field with his truck this past summer.

Lisa Gingras, director of athletics and wellness for the school district, suspended Vincent Priore for the fall athletic season after he was charged with criminal mischief for vandalizing school property when he, along with several other students, drove on a Nashua High School North athletic field with his vehicle.

Vincent, 16, of 75 Lock St., a student at North, received his athletic suspension on July 31, according to court documents. Appeals made to Gingras and the Board of Education were ultimately denied.

Vincent’s father, Christopher J. Priore, filed a subsequent appeal with Superintendent Jahmal Mosley in August. Mosley upheld the one-season athletic suspension.

“Ms. Gingras could have suspended Vincent for three seasons, however Vincent took responsibility for his actions and we commend him for taking ownership for this poor decision,” Mosley wrote in his decision.

Mosley went on to state that Vincent is a student athlete, and behavior expectations for athletes are clearly outlined in the school district’s policy for extracurricular activity eligibility.

According to the policy, violations of the student behavior standards policy that result in a suspension, which include vandalism and destruction of property, will cause a student to be suspended from extracurricular activities, Mosley said.

“Immediate action is needed because football season ends in November. We have gone through three appeals with school board,” the elder Priore writes in court documents filed at Hillsborough County Superior Court. “He continues to miss the season ... every day that passes is another day of missed sports, which is not fair to the student athlete.”

North is 3-3 and has three games remaining in the regular season. Priore is asking the court to reverse his son’s athletic suspension and issue an immediate injunction that would allow Vincent to return to the football field.

“We have been served unjust by the school district contradicting their own policy and basing decisions on emotions instead of facts,” Priore claims in court records. “I spent my last $260 to fight for this ex-parte order. Cannot afford an attorney.”

Vincent’s father told the Union Leader that because the incident took place over the summer, the school district should not be permitted to punish him for something that took place outside of the normal school year.

“The school has no authority to give them suspension during non-enrollment time. My son has been punished more than you can believe,” he said on Monday. “The Nashua High School North (football) team has suffered because he is not there to protect the quarterback.”

Priore said Vincent, 16, was ordered to pay $1,200 in restitution, and that he made his son perform 36 hours of community service at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and took his truck away for a month.

A court hearing on the merits of the civil lawsuit will take place on Friday at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua.

khoughton@newstote.com


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