District officials have reversed the suspension of a Santa Rosa High School junior who was beaten by two other girls in a video-recorded fight that sparked a lawsuit, her parents said Tuesday.
Alia Kanihan, 16, was assaulted in May by two Analy High School girls who came on campus to settle a dispute over a boy, said Kanihan’s father, Allen Danley.
The video shows Kanihan defending herself against one of the girls before both of them began pounding on her with their fists. A crowd of students looked on.
The school’s assistant principal, Danielle Valente, responded in part by suspending Kanihan for two days. Her parents appealed, saying the action was unfair and would affect their daughter’s ability to get accepted into a college dormitory.
The suspension was upheld on appeal, but district officials launched their own investigation and concluded there was reason to remove the suspension from the girl’s records.
Among other things, the probe by Santa Rosa private investigator Chris Reynolds found school officials failed to properly investigate the fight and didn’t give Kanihan a chance to tell her side of the story, either in the initial investigation or a suspension appeal hearing.
Danley said his family felt vindicated.
“We never were going to accept the suspension, ever,” he said. “We were going to do whatever it took to get it off her record.”
A letter from Jason Lea, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, confirmed the decision.
Lea noted employee disciplinary action “has or will be taken.” Also, he wrote that Valente will be directed not to engage in any retaliatory conduct against the girl or her family for bringing the complaint forward.
Lea did not respond Tuesday to an email seeking comment.
In his small-claims lawsuit, Danley originally had sought $10,000 in damages from the families of the other girls. He said Tuesday he was in talks to “forgive” the lawsuit altogether.
New hours and customer tips
New Saturday hours begin at the Santa Rosa Department of Motor Vehicles on Aug. 4
Currently, the office is open the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Don’t wait for a renewal notice. Expiration dates are printed on each driver’s license, and appointments can be made 90 days ahead.
Look for appointments at nearby DMV offices like Petaluma, Napa, Novato and Ukiah, and keep checking back for cancellations.
Consult the DMV checklist before arrival to ensure you bring proper documentation.
Check the DMV website to make sure your transaction can’t be completed online, like vehicle registration renewal.
Information about the REAL ID is available at dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/realid.