NAPA, Calif. - A Napa High School sophomore hopes to be back in school next week, months after he was expelled, for allegedly taking part in a football hazing ritual.
Last night, county education officials voted to overrule that expulsion.
"He's a good kid and we knew what we were fighting for," Napa High School sophomore Johnny Torres' parents said.
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Torres and his parents feel vindicated after his expulsion from school was lifted.
"I'm happy with the decision, but at the same time it's a lot of school I'm not going to get back." Torres said.
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"The allegations and the law was not on the district's side and Johnny Torres should never have been removed school to begin with," Torres family attorney Mandy Leigh said.
The allegations date from last Halloween. Johnny, who was quarterback and team captain of Napa High's junior varsity football team was accused of taking part in the hazing of some freshman players after practice. According to the Napa Unified School District some JV players held the freshmen down while others used fingers to poke them in the backside through their pants. Johnny was suspended in January and expelled in March. His family took the unusual step of having Johnny speak publicly at a school board hearing on matters usually addressed in closed session.
Last night, the county office of education voted to overturn the expulsion. And the Torres family is considering filing a lawsuit. Johnny has missed almost half the school year.
"Right now I'm taking online classes with BYU, making up basically a whole semester of my requirements," Torres said.
He hopes to return to school next week. But, the Napa Valley school board doesn't have to send him back to Napa High. In fact, Johnny would rather go someplace else. But, he still wants to play football.
"Definitely, as soon as possible," Torres said.
The Napa Valley School District responded to its expulsion being overturned, saying "We disagree with the outcome, but we respect the process and decision."