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GHS administrator, 2 others found liable for student injuries; jury awards $5M

A former Gloucester High School student was awarded $5 million in damages last week after a circuit court jury found a GHS assistant administrator and two other persons liable for injuries the student sustained during a confrontation at school.

John Conrad, counsel for defendant Travis Burns, the GHS administrator involved, said he would seek to have the verdict set aside. "This is an important case for the future of school administrators and teachers," said Conrad.

The injurious incident occurred on Dec. 14, 2006 following what witnesses described as two to three weeks of threatening online discourse regarding an obscure teen social situation. The students involved, plaintiff Gregory J. Gagnon and defendant James S. Newsome Jr., did not know each other personally but had at least one or two non-violent confrontations prior to Dec. 14.

On Dec. 14, GHS student Shannon Diaz was in trouble for a school prank and was seated in a school administration office with assistant...

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