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Football player's father to appeal court decision denying son's reinstatement to team

Union Leader Correspondent

November 14. 2017 7:41PM
Christopher J. Priore of Nashua, the father of Vincent Priore, argues in court Oct. 13 that his son's punishment by the Nashua School District, suspending him from the football team for the season, does not follow district policies. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA — A local dad whose son was not reinstated to the Nashua High School North football team following a recent court order says he will appeal the judge’s decision.

Christopher J. Priore says he is in the process of appealing the matter at the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and also intends on approaching the State Board of Education with claims of administrative misconduct.

Priore’s son, Vincent Priore, was previously suspended from playing football during the fall season after he was charged with criminal mischief for allegedly vandalizing school property when he did ‘donuts’ on a Nashua High School North athletic field with his vehicle this summer, along with several other students.

Vincent’s father previously filed a civil lawsuit against the Nashua School District seeking injunctive relief and asking that the one-season suspension be overturned so that Vincent could return to the team this fall, however Judge Jacalyn Colburn of Hillsborough County Superior Court denied the request.

“My son paid his fine — he was punished by the police,” the elder Priore said on Tuesday. “There is no reason we should have to go to court … he has been punished up and down.”

Colburn ruled that because the crime took place on school property, the administration had a right to punish Vincent for the vandalism, adding Vincent was a student at the time of the vandalism and was participating in the school-sanctioned summer conditioning program.

However, Colburn also wrote in her ruling that one of the school’s policies regarding behavioral expectations only applies when a student receives an academic suspension.

“In this case, because there is no evidence that Vincent received an academic suspension, it is questionable whether this provision of the policy applies,” she wrote.

Still, Colburn noted that other, separate school policies provided administrators with the right to implement an athletic suspension, maintaining that Vincent’s due process rights were not violated.

“This is all about their policy,” said Christopher Priore, adding his son still has not been cleared to play his winter sport either — indoor track.

A meeting has been planned for Friday to determine whether Vincent, a junior at Nashua High School North, is eligible to play this winter.

“Having reviewed Vincent’s conduct and academic records from the fall, I believe the meeting’s outcome will be positive,” Lisa Gingras, director of athletics and wellness, wrote in an email to Christopher Priore.

Gingras said that to remain eligible for winter sports, however, Vincent will have to improve his attendance and improve in the classes where he currently has incomplete work.

Although the football season is over on Nov. 22, the Priore family still believes there was wrongdoing in the process, arguing that the school district has no authority to punish students for their actions during the summer months.

“From a pure commonsense standpoint, it seems that any reasonable student — even a teenager —would know that destroying a school athletic field could result in disqualification from participating in that school’s athletic program, even if such a punishment is not specifically articulated in a school policy,” Colburn argued in her ruling, admitting that the school district’s administration and Board of Education should have been more specific in identifying the relevant policy provisions authorizing the athletic suspension.

Courts NHIAA Nashua

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