WHEELING – The mother of a Wheeling Park High School student claims a teacher attacked her son at least twice at the beginning of this school year.
J.W., parent of C.J., filed her complaint May 21 in Ohio Circuit Court against the Ohio County Board of Education and Mary Railing.
According to the complaint, Mary Railing is a science teacher at Wheeling Park. She previously taught at Wheeling Jesuit University (now known as Wheeling University). The complaint says Railing does not possess a high school teaching certification.
The first incident occurred Sept 9. The complaint says the boy was standing in the doorway of Railing’s classroom speaking to other students when she approached him, “placed her hand over his mouth and pushed his head backward forcefully.”
The next incident occurred two weeks later when the boy was sitting in science class engaged in a group work assignment with classmates.
“Suddenly and without any provocation his science teacher, Ms. Mary Railing approached C.J. from behind a struck him with her closed fist in the back of his head/neck area,” the complaint states. “C.J. once struck, immediately stood, and turned to face his attacker expecting to see a classmate or other student only to discover Ms. Railing as the source of the attack.
“C.J. attempted to walk away from Ms. Railing when she grabbed his arm forcefully and made C.J. turn and look at her.”
Railing self-reported that incident to Assistant Principal Jack Doyle, telling him “something to the effect that she ‘hit him harder than she meant to.’” Railing was suspended for five days. On Nov. 15, Railing was charged with a misdemeanor by the Ohio County Prosecutor’s office.
The mother tried to gather information about the incident and disciplinary action taken. She discovered the school and board members had at least three meetings with her son without notifying her.
A concerned school board employee told her of a “secret” upcoming meeting to discuss the matter. J.W. and her brother went to the meeting but was confronted by Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones, who ushered them to a different room, demanded to know why she had came to the meeting and told her no further action would be taken against Railing.
“When J.W. and her brother pressed Mr. Jones further, he told them that his decision relating to any discipline of Ms. Railing ‘was final’ and that if J.W. sought to press the matter further the OCBE has ‘big shot lawyers,’” the complaint states, adding that a deputy assigned to the school as a resource office was unaware of the incident between Railing and the boy but had “heard a rumor” about it.
A month later, the boy and three classmates ate at a McDonald’s. While there, they discussed renovations and upgrades at the school. According to the complaint, the friends discussed this at the restaurant, saying “that with the unlocked doors it would be easy for anyone to come into the school and do whatever they wanted.”
That night, Wheeling Police Officer Gerald Mitchell visited C.J. at home to investigate a report from a “concerned citizen” who reportedly had overheard C.J. making threats related to the school.
The students said they didn’t recognize any school employees at the restaurant, and C.J. said he was wearing no clothes with identifying information.
“The timing of the report of the ‘concerned citizen’ is suspicious when viewed as an attempt to smear or otherwise damage C.J.’s otherwise stellar reputation as a Wheeling Park High School student,” the complaint states. “Plaintiffs’ fear that bringing this action against the defendant Ohio County Board of Education will lead to more retaliation against C.J.”
The plaintiffs accuse all of the defendants of intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of non-delegable duty to protect students. They accuse the school board of vicarious liability as well as negligent retention, hiring and supervision. And they accuse Railing of assault and battery.
They claim C.J. suffered personal injuries and damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, past and future lost enjoyment of life, past and future humiliation, embarrassment, indignity, shame, economic damages, diminished earning capacity and future lost wages.
They seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs, attorney fees and other relief. They are represented by Teresa Toriseva and Joshua Miller of Toriseva Law in Wheeling. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Ronald Wilson.
Ohio Circuit Court case number 20-C-111