The handling of a recent lunchtime incident at Marietta High School where a student had his pants tugged down is leading to criminal charges for a student and a break from the job for the school's resource officer.
The March 1 incident resulted in charges being filed against the 16-year-old sophomore who allegedly pulled down the pants of a friend, leaving underwear in place.
The student, who is on a specialized education plan for behavioral issues, was not disciplined by the school, a decision that caused the school's resource officer to ask for a reassignment, at least temporarily.
Also, the parents of the teen who was charged indicated this week that they intend to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for an alleged violation of their child's educational plan, which included a clause that the student should not have contact with Marietta Police Officer A.J. Linscott, the school's resource officer, because of past conflicts.
"This has been a living hell as a parent," said the boy's father, Tom Jordan. "We have to get an attorney, go to court, maybe pay $300 in fines ... my son has to go through all this because of a joke ... something that's very common with kids."
Jordan said his son and the other boy involved are friends and that the other student wasn't upset by the incident.
Linscott said he charged the teen with juvenile charges of obstruction and for resisting arrest after witnessing him "pants" another student and failing to get any cooperation out of the boy.
"Had he just followed instructions, this probably would have been handled by the school," Linscott said. "It got to the point where I was obligated to do my job."
Jen Warrener, 35, of Marietta, said her 15-year-old daughter, a high school student, told her about the arrest the day it happened.
"She didn't see it, but she kept going on and on about how crazy it was for someone to get arrested for just pulling someone's pants down," she said. "If that's all it was, I agree it was probably a bit much. When we were kids it happened all the time."
After hearing the officer's side of the account, Warrener said she felt a little different.
"He probably needed to be drug out by his ear if he wasn't going to listen after the fact, especially if he had been in trouble before," she said. "If he has some behavioral issues, maybe (the teen) needs to learn how to better deal with those issues."
Jordan, of Devola, said his son suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a sensory disorder.
"Basically, I just want the teachers and the school resource officer to be aware of ADHD, to know what it means, how to deal with it and to know that (my son) isn't the only kid with it," he said.
The sensory disorder causes his son to often not want to be touched, which has been a problem previously in encounters with Linscott.
According to school officials, of the approximately 1,000 students at Marietta High School, 122 have specialized education plans.
Such plans prohibit discrimination based upon a disability and are designed to provide accommodations to help students with disabilities perform better academically.
Linscott said he was aware of the student's education plan but said it shouldn't prevent him from being able to do his job or allow the student to get a free pass.
"(It) doesn't give anyone a right to commit a violation of the law," he said.
Linscott said he was initially frustrated by a perceived lack of support from the school regarding the incident. He said he continues to have a good working relationship with the administration. For the past seven years, Linscott had worked eight-hour shifts in the city's schools as the district's resource officer.
"I decided I needed a break and I know they can use the help on the roads right now," he said. "I still check in with the schools often and they know they can call me anytime. Maybe this is just the break I need and I'll be back this fall, I don't know."
Marietta High School Principal Bill Lee referred all questions about the incident to district Superintendent Bruce Thomas, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite defended Linscott's actions in the matter and said the officer would be allowed some time out of the school setting. He said no other officer would be assigned to the schools in the meantime.
"We want him to go back," Waite said. "What he does up there is important."
A message left with the Office for Civil Rights in Cleveland was not returned Tuesday.
Kate York contributed.