SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) - An outspoken critic of South Hadley school officials has won the first round of his fight in a civil rights lawsuit against the town's former school committee chairman.
A federal magistrate judge recently ruled in favor of resident Luke Gelinas ' claim that then-chairman Ed Boiselle violated his rights by allegedly silencing him during a school committee meeting in April of 2010. Gelinas had been upset with officials following the suicide death of South Hadley High School student Phoebe Prince.
Boiselle said Gelinas violated the privacy of the Prince family, but the judge agreed with Gelinas that he simply censored him because of his viewpoint.
Now the judge has ruled in favor of Gelinas, the civil case will head towards a trial. It could be settled outside of court, but so far Gelinas's lawyer Howard Friedman told 22News he always prepares to go to court in case he has to. They are seeking monetary damages from Boiselle. Friedman told us that if they win, the Town's insurance will pay money for Ed Boiselle.
Wednesday, 22News caught up with Luke Gelinas. He told us this isn't about the money. It's about restoring freedoms to South Hadley's residents. He said that it was about the ability "To be able to speak openly, to be heard, not to be interrupted, not to be bullied."
This case also brought motions against the two police officers that escorted Gelinas out of the meeting, but the court found that they did not violate his rights. Further action will not be taken against them.