MESA, AZ - A judge upheld the suspensions of three Mesa high school students who drank beer while on a band trip to China in June.
Parents of the Dobson High School students filed a lawsuit against the Mesa School District last week, saying their children were wrongfully suspended.
"The parents just asked for a fair hearing on the facts," said attorney Jon Paladini who represents the students. "There should be due process and the judge was limited by existing case law."
During that 10-day trip to attend the World Expo, the students were accused of consuming beer in their hotel room and the school claimed a five-day suspension is required.
"It's hard for me to get beyond the fact, you're drinking, you're suspended," said Superior Court Judge Joseph Kreamer. "The punishment is within the typical realm for punishment for drinking."
Nearly 45 minutes into the 53-minute hearing, Paladini gathered in the courtroom and decided to end the court battle following the judge's comments.
"These boys are going to take their suspension and they're going to hold their heads high," said Paladini.
Following the hearing, Mesa School System attorney Tom Pickrell called the lawsuit aimed at blocking the suspension a waste of money.
"It was a complete waste of money," said Pickrell outside the courthouse in downtown Phoenix. "Unfortunately there's no way we can stop that."
Paladini fired back when asked about the taxpayer cost to fight his motion.
"A violation of the constitutional rights and the advocacy of our kids is never a waste of taxpayer money," said Paladini.
The families of the students said the boys were not completely at fault because chaperones did not follow School District regulations and there was a lack of supervision.
"He was given alcohol by an adult, by a tour guide who we thought was watching over him," said Jim Ashworth, the father of 16-year-old Brandon Ashworth who was suspended.
The boys' parents also made claims of chaperones drinking and even sexual misconduct.
"We'll take the punishment and move on," said Denelle Teten whose son was one of the three suspended students. "It's tough to swallow."
The suspensions for the students begins Wednesday.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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