August 9, 2005

Parents ‘Very Satisfied’ With Settlement From Salina, Kan., Military School

Aug. 10--The attorney representing a group of former cadets of St. John's Military School in Salina said Tuesday the parents of a cadet who lost teeth and had his jaw fractured while being choked unconscious were "very satisifed" by a substantial payment made to settle the case.

Meanwhile, the civil cases filed against the school last fall have resulted in significant changes in policies concerning student conduct and in the school's admission philosophy, the school's president said.

The settlement resulted in a dismissal last month of a lawsuit brought by Martin Sure, father of former cadet Michael Shure, now living and attending school in Denver.

The suit was one in a series filed by attorney Patrick Neustrom of the law firm of Achterberg, Neustrom & Angell, 118 S. Seventh. An earlier suit representing another Colorado couple, Michael and Tess McCabe, on behalf of their son, Julian, also was dismissed. The sums of those settlements were not disclosed.

All the alleged incidents took place in 2003 or 2004. Some of the allegations involved beatings with broom sticks and coat hangers.

Two cases remain on file in court. Four others are in talks with the school's insurance carrier to see if they can be resolved before suits are filed. All the cases could be settled through negotiations, Neustrom said.

"We're negotiating in good faith with (the insurance company) and they're trying to resolve these cases for the boys so they can move on," Neustrom said. "We're hoping to take positive steps."

Safer for students Col. Jack Fox, president of St. John's Military since September 2004, said Tuesday that he and the staff and the board of directors of the school have gone through adjustments to create a safer environment for the students.

Staff members are now required to undergo regular training for dealing with alcohol and other drug problems and anger management.

Cadets who bring discredit to the institution will be dismissed, he said.

This year when the new students, known as "new boys" report on Aug.

26, they will face a zero tolerance policy on hazing, he said.

"If a boy has a history of violence, fighting and fighting again, what I tell staff is don't bring in any boy that you wouldn't want your son living with," Fox said. "We're not going to take a boy we can't help. Parents look to us for academics, too. We took a hard look at ourselves, and that's healthy."

The Episcopal school, which Fox expects will enroll up to 130 students this fall, serves boys in grades six through 12.


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