The Covina-Valley Unified School District was sued Tuesday by a former student who alleges he was choked by a teacher and berated in front of other students.
Joseph Leyba Jr. filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the district and teacher Scott McDonald Stragier. Leyba, who has since graduated and is now an adult, alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
A district representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
The alleged choking occurred at South Hills High School in West Covina on March 14, 2014, the lawsuit states. The school is the same campus where Melody Lippert taught before she and CVUSD teacher Michelle Ghirelli were arrested over the weekend for allegedly having sex with students in Orange County.
According to the lawsuit, Stragier, who also is a wrestling coach, yelled at Lebya, “What did I tell you about (expletive) around in my classroom?,” according to the lawsuit.
Stragier’s then placed Leyba in a chokehold and almost caused him to lose consciousness, the suit states. The teacher also pulled on Leyba’s earring and almost removed it from his lobe, all of which took place in front of other students, according to the lawsuit.
Stragier released Leyba and again began berating him, the complaint states.
After another student asked Stragier what was wrong with him, the teacher replied, “No one is doing a (expletive) thing in my classroom, just look around,” according to the lawsuit.
Stragier then walked back to Leyba and began pulling on the student’s hair and shaking him, the suit states.
— City News Service