Former Pine-Richland student sues district, hockey group

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A former Pine-Richland High School student sued the district and an affiliated hockey group Wednesday, claiming that their failure to accommodate his Asperger's syndrome violated federal law.

The former student, identified only as J.G., played hockey for years, but beginning in 2012 had "problems ... communicating with the coach, as well as with peer-on-peer harassment occurring during practices," according to the complaint.

Asperger's syndrome is part of the autism spectrum of disorders and involves communication challenges.

When J.G.'s parents complained, the coach "placed the blame upon [the student's] athletic performance" and yelled at him during a game, according to the complaint. J.G. was then ignored "despite leading the [junior varsity] team in goals scored and placing second in point[s] per game," attorney Jeffrey Ruder wrote.

J.G. was not picked for the varsity team in his senior year, 2012-13, according to the complaint. The treatment violated the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mr. Ruder wrote. He seeks compensatory damages and an order to stop "unlawful practices."

Neither Pine-Richland's superintendent nor officials with the Pine-Richland Hockey Association could be reached for comment.

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