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Students, CAB Meet for Settlement Conference in Indy
February 21, 2007 - Three Knightstown High School students who sued the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation over their expulsions last fall were scheduled to return to Indianapolis this morning with their parents and attorneys for a court-ordered settlement conference.
Today’s settlement conference was scheduled at the request of attorneys representing KHS sophomores Isaac Imel, Cody Overbay and Charlie Ours. In their lawsuits against CAB, the three boys claim school officials violated their rights of free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it expelled them for the rest of the school year in November over a horror film parody they and a fourth student created on their own time away from school.
In December, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana issued a preliminary injunction that allowed Imel and Overbay to return to school while their lawsuits are pending, and ordered CAB to allow them to make up work they missed during their 10 weeks out of school. Since that time, the court has granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana to add Ours as a plaintiff in the lawsuit it filed earlier on behalf of Imel.
The students’ film, dubbed “The Teddy Bear Master,” is a parody of a 1980s horror film called “The Puppet Master.” School officials took exception to the movie, claiming the four students threatened and defamed a Knightstown Intermediate School teacher who shares the same last name as a teacher character lampooned in the film.
Shortly after Barker issued the preliminary injunction for Imel and Overbay, CAB decided to allow Ours and the fourth student, Harrison Null, to return to school as well. Although Ours is now a party to the litigation against CAB, Null has not yet taken any legal action against the school corporation with respect to his expulsion.
In their lawsuits against CAB, the students have asked that their disciplinary records be expunged. They are also seeking damages and recovery of attorney fees and court costs.
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