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Starpoint board member files lawsuit over conduct claims

Starpoint school board member Michelle Leuer filed a lawsuit against the district regarding the misconduct claims.

NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — A lawsuit was filed in Niagara County supreme court late Tuesday afternoon by Starpoint school board member Michelle Leuer and her husband James. 

Leuer is suing the Starpoint Central School District. 

Additionally, one of the accused students is petitioner in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was posted publicly on the New York State Unified Court System website.

The lawsuit alleges Leure's son, and another student who were both wrestlers,  were removed from school by the district after a "notice of emergency removal" was filed to against them on February 7th. 

On February 8th, the Starpoint superintendent, Dr. Sean Croft, announced the wrestling season had been canceled over "allegations of misconduct."

The lawsuit indicates that the school district received “notice of formal complaint of sexual harassment under Title IX" regarding the two students on February 9th. 

The Title IX complaint claims that the two students "pose an immediate threat to the physical health and safety of students, arising from allegations of sexual harassment."

The lawsuit argues that the district did not provide the two students with a reason why they were deemed an immediate threat to other students. 

A hearing was held on February 10 between the district and the two students. 

Superintendent Dr. Sean Croft upheld the removal of the students, as the lawsuit claims, because of three "piling on" incidents at several practices. 

The "pile on" incidents allegedly occurred on January 23, 24, and 25. The lawsuit claims that the wrestler accusing two students of misconduct felt upset that he ended up at the bottom of the "dog pile" multiple times over the course of three days. 

The documents in the lawsuit also claim that multiple coaches were present for the "pile on" incidents, as well as a Lockport Police officer.

Monday night during the school board meeting, Michelle Leuer said she was asked not to attend the February 6 meeting, and that she had no part in the decision made by the board. 

"I would like to say the Starpoint district overreacted and this is catastrophic what was not done to not only my son but the rest of these Starpoint wrestlers," Leuer said. 

There is no record of an emergency school board meeting being announced or a public agenda where the board would have voted on canceling the wrestling team's season. 

The lawsuit is seeking the de facto suspension of their son to be nullified and have him reinstated. 

Late Tuesday night, the Starpoint Central School District released a statement addressing the lawsuit. 

Credit: wgrz

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