Attorney plans to sue LCHS
He alleges client was harassed by school officials, coerced into confessing to drug possession.
By Robert Chacon
La Canada Flintridge
A student at La Canada High School claims he was coerced into confessing he has marijuana on campus and his attorney said they will file a lawsuit against the school district.
David Diamond, an attorney with the Los Angeles based firm of Diamond, Burt & Akhkhashian, sent a claim to the school district on Tuesday and is awaiting a response before filing the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The lawsuit will accuse La Canada High School officials of slander, libel, defamation of character and violation of civil rights as well as civil conspiracy and falsifying official records and complaints, Diamond said.
"We won't have any comment on these sort of things," said Andy Beattle, La Canada School District board president. "The district does not comment on student discipline matters or litigation."
The ninth-grade student, identified as Matt R, was called into Assistant Principal Joanne Davidson's office on Feb 25 and questioned about possessing a small bag of marijuana, Diamond said. The bag had been found stuffed between the cushions of a couch in Davidson's office, where Matt had been earlier that day.
Matt has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and spends part of the day in special classes, Diamond said.
"He is highly susceptible to emotional encounters, and they began accusing him immediately that the marijuana was his," Diamond said.
School officials dictated a confession to Matt, who wrote it down and signed it, the lawsuit will allege.
Diamond said he has talked to some of Matt's classmates, who said they have been approached by a campus security guard and asked to falsify information about the boy. One student, who was allegedly approached by the guard and offered $50 on the day Matt was suspended, will be named as a witness in the lawsuit when it is filed, he said.
Matt returned to school on Thursday after a five-day suspension, Diamond said, adding that school employees continue to follow him around campus. A drug test taken the day after the suspension came up negative, he said.
"[Matt] does not use narcotics, and does not smoke marijuana." Diamond said.