By Rob Kunzig
A graduate of Cape Henlopen High School and his parents are taking a Cape district teacher and officials to court over a 2008 incident in a hallway at Cape High. Roger “Dane” Wooleyhan was accused of striking social studies teacher Amanda Jester, but Wooleyhan was cleared of all charges.
Now and his parents are suing officials in federal court.
The suit, filed Feb. 23 in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, names 10 defendants, including Superintendent George Stone, Principal John Yore and Jester.
The federal suit stems from an Oct. 24, 2008 incident, when Jester separated Wooleyhan and his girlfriend as they were embracing in the hallway. As she separated the students, Jester said, Wooleyhan elbowed her in the chest. Wooleyhan, then a senior, was arrested by Student Resource Officer William Matt and charged with offensive touching. He was suspended for three days.
Wooleyhan took the case to Justice of the Peace Court No. 2 in Lewes February 3, 2009. Justice of the Peace James Horn said video evidence presented in the case was inconclusive. He found Woleyhan not guilty.
The federal suit alleges 10 counts, including malicious prosecution, unlawful detention, defamation and emotional distress.
It seeks to have the incident expunged from Wooleyhan’s school record and criminal record, and asks lawful, punitive and emotional damages. The suit also seeks a judgment declaring the school’s due process policies unconstitutional.
Jester’s attorney Megan Mantzavinos filed a motion to dismiss four of the 10 claims against Jester April 20. Mantzavinos asserts the Wooleyhans failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted for the charges of excessive force, constitutional violation, emotional distress and procedural abuse.
Stephen Norman, attorney for the Wooleyhans, has filed an answering brief. A decision is pending from Judge Michael Baylson. A preliminary pretrial conference will be held by telephone Monday, May 17. Attorneys for all parties declined to comment.