Suspended Scranton Baseball Coach ‘Skip’ Roskos Sues District
A West Scranton High School varsity baseball coach suspended over complaints he bullied players and engaged in other misconduct filed a federal lawsuit against the district and its superintendent, alleging his constitutional rights were violated.
George “Skip” Roskos claims the district took action without giving him a proper hearing to address the claims in violation of his due process rights.
Roskos served as head coach since 2012. He initially was suspended with pay on May 1, while school officials investigated allegations in a video posted on social media.
The video criticized his behavior, including berating players for not calling him by his nickname, insulting a player based on his skin color and screaming at a player and his father for missing a game.
On July 17, the district notified Roskos that his suspension was changed to without pay for the entire 2018-19 season for allegedly violating several conditions placed on him — including contacting players and their parents — while he was on paid suspension.
Roskos has been employed as a physical education teacher since 2003. The suspension related only to his coaching position.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by Dickson City attorney Frank Tunis, is the second filed against the district and superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D., in the last two months. In September, teacher Steve Bartnicki field suit, alleging Kirijan retaliated against him because he publicly criticized her. The district recently filed a motion to dismiss part of the lawsuit, which remains pending.
Roskos’ suit says he was called to a meeting with Kirijan and several other officials on May 1. The officials told him they received complaints, but did not provide him specific details, the suit says.
“He was summoned expeditiously to a meeting where the superintendent offered generalized statements,” Tunis said Wednesday. “The next thing he knew, he was suspended without pay.”
Tunis contends the district was required to provide Roskos a formal hearing on the allegations and give him a chance to respond, but failed to do so.
The suit seeks damages on one count for violating Roskos’ 14th Amendment right to due process.
John Audi, solicitor for the school district, defended the district’s handling of the matter.
“I am aware of the facts surrounding it and can state that I am confident that the Scranton School District at all times followed the law and acted appropriately,” Audi said in an email.
Contact the writer:
@tmbeseckerTT on Twitter.