The Clovis Unified school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to expel a Buchanan High student, concluding that a wrestling move he used on a teammate during practice constituted sexual battery and bullying.
Preston Hill, 17, and his parents left before the decision was announced.
"They thought it would be a waste of time to stick around," said attorney Charles Magill, who made a last-ditch effort to get Hill reinstated at Buchanan.
The board deliberated privately for fewer than 30 minutes before announcing the decision at a public hearing at Clovis Unified School District headquarters.
Hill, who was suspended before the school year started, now can't finish his senior year at Buchanan or set foot on Clovis Unified property. His options include enrolling in another school district or attending a charter or private school.
The expulsion came the same day Hill appeared at a pretrial hearing in Fresno County Superior Court, where he faces a criminal charge of sexual battery. Sources say prosecutors want to resolve the case before Hill's trial on Jan. 27.
The alleged victim told Clovis police that Hill rammed two fingers into his anus during wrestling practice in July. Hill, however, told police he was employing a legitimate wrestling move called a "butt-drag" when he grabbed the boy's butt cheek -- not his anus.
Officially, the school board board Wednesday upheld a Jan. 14 ruling by a three-member school panel that concluded Hill, a senior, had sexually assaulted a freshman teammate.
The board also upheld the panel's other finding to support Hill's expulsion: that he bullied his teammate, committed an obscene act, and caused or attempted to cause physical injury to the teammate.
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