Saddleback College plans to appeal a recent judge’s decision that required the school to remove sexual misconduct marks from an autistic student’s record, a reporter following the story said.
Toni Airaksinen, who has followed the case of the student, Marcus Knight, reported on Twitter last week that a spokesperson for Saddleback told her the school plans to “appeal” the decision.
“UPDATE: Marcus Knight’s fight against his Title IX sanctions IS NOT OVER. The college’s spokesperson just informed me that the school plans to “appeal” the court’s decision,” Airaksinen tweeted. “The Title IX marks are STILL on Marcus’s record.”
Airaksinen previously reported exclusively that a court had required the college to remove Title IX marks from Knight’s record.
“The Court… hereby concludes that the findings and sanctions issued by Respondents against [Marcus Knight] should be set aside,” the court found after a short trial.
Appeals are certainly not uncommon in cases such as these, but Knight’s mother, Aurora, questioned why the school is so determined “to get” her son.
“I can’t believe it,” she told The Daily Wire. “They are really out to destroy my son!!”
Marcus’ attorney, Mark Hathaway, told The Daily Wire, “We will continue to fight for Marcus Knight.”
Knight filed a lawsuit against Saddleback earlier this year.
“We believe that Saddleback College failed to comply with the law and their own policy in improperly disciplining Marcus Knight and no sanctions should ever have been imposed against him,” Hathaway told Airaksinen in early November when a trial ate for the lawsuit was set.
Knight’s story gained attention last year after he was suspended for giving a female student a “fist bump” and for taking a “selfie” with another. Knight, who has autism, cerebral palsy, and a shunt in his brain to relieve fluid pressure, was taught when he was younger that a “fist bump” would be a “safe” way to make friends. But in today’s #MeToo era, even that can be considered sexual harassment.
One woman reported Knight to school officials after he asked her for a fist bump, saying he made her uncomfortable. Another woman said Marcus had “over 300 photos” of her on his phone. Knight, due to his cerebral palsy, accidentally hit the “burst” option on his camera phone while taking a selfie with the woman, resulting in numerous photos being taken instead of just one. She also claimed he put his arm around her shoulder without permission. A third woman claimed Knight was following her and kept staring at her.
Knight was suspended and was supposed to be given a hearing where he could defend himself against the accusations, but the school cancelled the hearing after one of the accusers refused to testify and didn’t show up to the hearing. It is unclear if any of the other women planned to attend. Knight was unable to offer his side of the story, and had multiple Title IX marks placed on his permanent record.
He was allowed to return to school, but must be accompanied by an assistant, who Aurora said is very helpful.
Still, until the court decision in late November, Knight felt his future had been taken away. The threat of an appeal from Saddleback will only bring those fears back