Suit seeks #036;1.5 million in damages

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 1, 2003

The parent of a student at the Lawrence County Alternative School has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against the former director, the county school superintendent and the county board of education.

Barry Adkins of South Point filed the lawsuit on May 20 on behalf of his son, Aaron, seeking $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The suit alleges that his son was assaulted by the former director, Mike F. Vavra

County Superintendent Harold Shafer and county board of education members Gerald Love, Phillip Carpenter, Darrell Davis, Roland Hayes and Ray Malone as well as the Lawrence County Educational Service Center are named as defendants in the suit.

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The suit alleges that on Dec. 11, 2002, Vavra, then the director of the alternative school, assaulted and battered the younger Adkins by striking him in the head and causing the boy to have a concussion and blurry vision. Also, Vavra allegedly swore at the boy and called him "names inappropriate to an educational setting," the lawsuit documents read.

Aaron Adkins has suffered injuries and emotional distress which have caused an unspecified amount in medical and counseling expenses, the lawsuit documents state.

Criminal charges of assault and menacing were filed against Vavra in January. However, Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. said a 90-day extension has been filed in the case. If Vavra resigned from his position at the alternative school and caused no trouble during that 90-day period, the case against him would be dismissed. Vavra resigned from his position.

According to information from the county prosecutor's office, the 90-day period has not expired at this time.

This decision was made after considering several factors, Collier said. After talking with school officials about Vavra's background, it was discovered that he had "not a blemish" on his record, Collier said. Officials had high praise for the work that Vavra had done at the school.

However, this did not take away from what Vavra had been charged, Collier said, because he should not have physically reprimanded a child under his care. Nevertheless, Collier said he felt that Vavra resigning, and subsequently ruining his career, Vavra paid a high price.

Vavra declined to comment on the suit.