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School lawsuit mediation stalls

Posted 5/30/18 (Wed)

WISHEK, N.D.  ―  After approximately four hours of closed door meetings on May 21 and a mediation effort by U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller, Jr., a federal lawsuit by Katie Pinke against Wishek Public School officials remains unsettled.

 Pinke, the mother of two elementary students, was banned from school property in November. She is suing Superintendent Shawn Kuntz and the Wishek School Board. The board is comprised of President Curt Meidinger, Vice President Melissa Kaseman-Wolf and members Bruce Herr, Trina Schilling and Dynette Ketterling.

Ironically (or symbolically), the mediation took place in the same Wishek Public School complex from which Pinke is banned.

The ban is rooted in a contentious Oct. 10 meeting between Pinke and her husband, Nathan, Kuntz and Elementary Principal Renae Bosch. The Pinkes expressed concerns about the handling of an incident the previous day, in which a fourth grader brought to school what was later determined to be a non-functioning starter's pistol.

The mediation began at 9 a.m., with the board meeting for an hour with their attorney, Rachel Bruner.

The board held their discussions in executive session, which the public and media are prohibited from attending.  Michelle Lang, a representative from the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, which insures political subdivisions, was also present at the school board meeting. The judge met privately with the Pinkes and their counsel, Michael Mulloy.

Negotiations between attorneys, Bruner for the school and Mulloy for Katie Pinke, are expected to continue.


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