NAMPA — The Vallivue School District is facing a federal lawsuit from a student who was expelled in February.
Ridgevue High School junior Brooks Wann was kicked out of school for a year in February for allegedly bullying and sexually harassing a teammate in the locker room.
The honors student and athlete says the story is being twisted and he deserves to be back in school. He and his attorney are accusing the school district of denying Wann his due process rights.
This suit was filed in federal April 26, asking the judge to put a temporary restraining order on the school district’s one-year expulsion and grant a preliminary injunction. Court documents KTVB obtained say the district is basing their decision on a Snapchat video that a few students saw and that some teachers heard about. We are told that video doesn’t exist anymore.
Wann’s attorney tells KTVB she fears the notorious case out of Dietrich, Idaho could have influenced Wann’s fate.
After early morning workouts on Feburary 9, Brooks and one of his teammates started horsing around in the locker room. Another friend who was present took a video of it on Snapchat, which became the catalyst of what was to follow.
“All three of us that were there were laughing, we thought it was a joke,” Wann said.
A few days later, when school staff learned about the video, Wann was called into the office.
“They actually had me in a room for all day,” he said. “I requested to speak to my mom a couple times and I was denied.”
Court records show the high school vice principal made a statement about what happened at a school board hearing the next day, saying Wann tackled his friend to the ground and jabbed him with his key, eventually penetrating the key into the boy’s rectum multiple times. The ‘memorandum in support of plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order’ filed by Wann’s attorney, Chynna Simmons, includes the full statement:
“4 students (BW, MS, JM, KB) were in the locker room/parking lot area on 2.9.18 before school (after football workouts). KB was never in the parking lot. JM, MS and BW were in BW’s vehicle after getting some food. JM and BW were having words back and forth and BW became physical with JM. JM is much smaller than BW/MS. Both BW and MS were reported to have been physically pinning down and punching JM (in the arm) repeatedly in the vehicle. The three students then proceeded to the locker room area and KB let them in the door. BW was locked out at this time and eventually let back in. When BW came into the locker room, he continued to be physically aggressive towards MS and JM. Statements were made that BW was messing around and may be typical of his behavior.
Eventually BW tackled JM down to the ground and continued to pin him down, using his key and jabbing [it] in various parts of the body. BW eventually probed JM in the buttocks where it has been reported that the key penetrated the rectum. At this point, BW or MS referred to the event as an “oil check”. Victim reports multiple incidents of penetration with the key. JM got up and ran out of the locker room. MS was recording the incident and send the footage to BW. KB was a witness. Moments later, after the students had taken showers, BW went over to JM in the PE locker room and poured shampoo on his head.
Later that day the incident was on snapchat and available for others to see. Victim stated that he saw the video on BW’s phone.”
Wann says that’s not at all what happened. He says there was absolutely no penetration with a key whatsoever.
“It was shocking how they twisted everything into something that I didn’t think was much of anything,” he said.
After a couple disciplinary hearings, the Vallivue School District decided to expel Brooks for one year. Simmons says no written statements were presented, no basis was given for the vice principal’s statement and no witnesses testified or were questioned in any of the hearings.
“This is a situation that blew up over students seeing a video, teachers overhearing students seeing a video and then teachers making statements about the video. And somehow a good kid gets expelled,” Simmons said.
They later learned all the boys were asked to provide statements, which we were unable to obtain on Friday.
“There were some ambiguities in them but they all supported Brooks’ story of this was friends joking around, this was nothing bullying, this wasn’t sexual harassment, it certainly wasn’t an attack,” Simmons said.
“Things definitely could have been done differently. It shouldn’t have happened. But it comes down to did I deserve to get expelled? I don’t think I did,” Wann added.
Simmons says she requested another hearing on grounds of the school district not following due process. She says the school district agreed and then backed out.
“And that’s when we had to move forward and file the federal complaint,” she added. “What we’re asking for in the federal complaint is simply the chance to establish the facts.”
The Vallivue School District told KTVB they’re aware of this suit but can’t give us their side of the story. They say they “want to be sensitive to the students involved”.
“I think it comes down to the school protecting themselves,” Wann told KTVB.
“I think it has a lot to do with Dietrich,” Simmons added. “Very different situation from Dietrich – it’s not even comparable – but people are so afraid of being sued in their individual capacity.”
By filing suit, they’re hoping a judge will force the district to let Brooks take summer classes so he can graduate on time next year.
“I’m really hoping I can get back in school and continue to give myself a future and hopefully play college ball,” Wann said.
A Canyon County spokesman says battery charges have been filed against Wann, with another kid involved facing aiding and abetting battery charges. Arraignments are set for May 15.
We will continue to follow this story as more information comes to light.
© 2018 KTVB
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