The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

July 13, 2007

Judge: Wrestled with case



“The actual charges made by the School District were directed only at Justin’s off-campus conduct,” the judge said.

With that basis, school officials had to show that Justin’s profile caused “substantial disruption” of school.

The key to the judge’s decision was that school officials could not show “a sufficient nexus between Justin’s speech and a substantial disruption of the school environment.”

One of the problems is that there were three other profiles of Trosch available at the same time on Myspace, and officials could not show how Justin’s alone caused problems, McVerry said.

The judge also said officials did not show that their reaction to the Web sites did not create some of the “buzz” among students.

School was disrupted by the Web sites, but the disruption was “minimal,” McVerry said. He said no “widespread disorder” was generated, nor was there “violence or student disciplinary action.”

McVerry also said no classes were canceled, although he had said earlier that computer programming classes were canceled.

McVerry concluded that “the school administration lacked authority to punish Justin for his off-campus creation of a Trosch profile,” but acknowledged “this decision is a close call and Defendants’ reaction to the unflattering profile was understandable.”

The judge said he would not comment on whether the profile was a parody, as the Layshocks claimed, or defamatory, as the district claimed. That decision is up to the courts.

Trosch has filed a defamation suit against Layshock and the purported creators of two of the other profiles.

McVerry also:

• Removed Trosch, co-principal Chris Gill and Superintendent Karen A. Ionta from the suit, Trosch because he was not involved in disciplining Justin, and Mrs. Ionta and Gill because they have qualified immunity to the charges, even though they violated Justin’s’ free-speech rights.

Text Only
Local News
  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014