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Parents successfully overturn lacrosse player's drug-and-alcohol suspension in court

Ben Rohrbach
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A federal judge lifted the 28-day suspension of a Portland (Ore.) Wilson High lacrosse player. (Picasa)
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A federal judge lifted the 28-day suspension of a Portland (Ore.) Wilson High lacrosse player. (Picasa)

Well, this story won't do much to dispel the stereotypes of high school lacrosse players.

A federal judge in Oregon granted a temporary restraining order and prelimary injunction requested by the parents of a Wilson High lacrosse player, effectively lifting a suspension levied by Portland Public Schools for the student's alleged violation of its drug and alcohol policy, according to The Oregonian.

The district impeded upon junior Jackson Fletcher's freedom of speech and due process rights in addition to causing irreparable harm to his future scholarship chances, according to the request. For the time being, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed with that sentiment, allowing Fletcher to play.

According to The Oregonian and legal filings obtained by the paper, Wilson vice principal Maude Lamont discovered a number of text messages sent between two students that mentioned Fletcher as part of an arrangement to purchase alcohol for a party last month. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old reportedly contends he gave classmates $10 for the alcohol purchase off school property and later changed his mind. The Fletchers' lawyer, Kevin Brague, told The Oregonian that the teen's ADD clouded his judgment.

"Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher are very much involved in their custody, care, and control of their son J.F. and Defendants’ intrusion and suspension of J.F. is inappropriate," the plaintiff's memorandum to Portland's U.S. District Court said. "Especially because the conduct for which he is accused occurred off campus and outside of school hours, and within their province and right to control, regulate, and punish any offending conduct. The Fletchers do not need a government super-nanny."

According to the vice principal, Fletcher "was flippant" about his involvement in the alcohol purchasing plot, telling the vice principal, "We have to get our stuff from somewhere." However, according to the Fletchers' memo, Jackson "started crying" upon learning of his suspension from the lacrosse team.

Naturally, Portland Public Schools officials are concerned about the ramifications of the judge's ruling. In a letter to the district court opposing the Fletchers' court action, school officials warned against the dangers of allowing parents to use the legal system in an attempt to avoid suspensions for their children.

"A temporary restraining order undermines school authority because it allows unhappy parents or students to attempt to leverage the costs and inconveniences of court action to attempt to avoid discipline under school district policy," lawyers for the school district submitte in a memo to the court. "And restraining student discipline risks undermining a school district's ability to enforce reasonable student conduct policies that are intended for the welfare and safety of all students."

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