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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Graduate says school owes her Hawaii trip

Associated Press

BOISE – When Trisha Walker graduated from Borah High School in May 2004, school officials wouldn’t let her wear the silk lei that was a gift from her Hawaiian uncle.

Now Walker, her stepfather, Jerry Squires, and her mother, Cheryl Squires, say the only way to make up for the loss of the $40 item is for the school to send Walker and an aunt on a three-day trip to Hawaii to pick out a new one.

Walker and the Squireses filed a lawsuit in 4th District Small Claims Court asking a judge to force the school and district officials to pay for the $2,300 trip. The money would cover airline tickets, accommodations, meals, car rentals and gas.

Boise School District Deputy Superintendent Vickie Simmons says the district will fight the lawsuit, which she says is a waste of taxpayer money.

“It is a ridiculous kind of claim in my view,” Simmons said.

The flower-necklace fiasco began on graduation night, Walker and her family say, after Borah High School Principal Greg Frederick decided not to let students wear leis.

He made the decision after getting advice from a school resource officer who thought the decoration was not appropriate for a graduation ceremony.

Walker apparently handed over the lei to a school official, and it was ultimately lost.

Simmons says Walker’s family failed to file a proper claim on the lost lei before a six-month deadline passed. But Squires says he did file a claim.

Those named in the lawsuit – including the district, Frederick, assistant principal Tim Standlee and school resource officer Richard Baranco – have until June 12 to respond.