Connine Schillreff, the Loudoun County senior who faced missing her high school prom, baccalaureate and graduation for pushing a chocolate cream, pie into the face of a vice principal, may yet attend her long-awaited end-of-school activities.
But a federal judge warned yesterday that she would not be able to if she and her high school classmates, some of whom were in on the pie-throwing prank, don't behave.
U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. in Alexandria rejected Miss Schillreff's contention tht she was denied her constitutional right to proper hearings before she was suspended from classes because of the May 3 incident and told not to attend the close-of-school activities.
Seconds after Bryan stood to leave the courtroom, Schillreff's attorney, Kenneth Crosson, asked the judge to grant a temporary restraining order allowing Miss Schillreff to attend the functions until her case if appealed to the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
After grimacing, sitting silent for several minutes and wringing his hands, Bryan granted Crosson's request. But the judge delivered a stern warning to Miss schillreff that neither she nor her classmates were to consider his decision as a victory for her or her privileges will be taken away.
"I don't want her to walk into that baccalaureate or graduation as a heroine," Bryan said, "She lost her case.
"If it comes to the court's attention that there are outbursts by he or the students supporting her, I will dissolve temporary restraining order immediately.
"If I get any advice from (the school) that the temporary restraining order is taken as a winning of the battle . . . I will take it away," Bryan said.
Bryan said he will also monitor closely reports from the Brood Run High School prom on June 4. "The prom is where if there's any incident I will dissolve the temporary restraining order," Bryan said.
Bryan also said Miss Schillreff's privileges will be rescinded if her attorney does not attempt to have the appeals court hear her case as soon as possible.
Bryan said he allowed Miss Schillreff to attend the activities because if he did not, the appeals court could later overturn his decision and Miss Schillreff would have needlessly missed the once-in-a-lifetime senior functions.
The harm done to Miss Schillreff missing the activities "outweighs the harm done to the school" if the decision is not overturned, Bryan said.
Bryan also said his decision does not "minimize the schools' right ot disciplinary action" and stressed that the case was not based on whether the school's punishment was too harsh. The case was based on whether Miss Schillreff had been given the proper hearings, Bryan said.
Miss Schillreff testified yesterday that she pushed the pie into the face of vice principal Alta J. Bibb as a senior class prank supported by other students.
Following the incident Miss Schillreff testified she helped Bibb clean the pie from her face and was sent to have an informal hearing with Principal James C. McBride. She said she knew before she threw the pie she would be suspended, but didn't expect the penalty to be so harsh.
Crosson argued at the principal's hearing and at two subsequent ones that Miss Schillreff was not given the opportunity to present her side.
After reviewing a transcript of a May 17 meeting and hearing testimony from school officials yesterday, Bryan said Miss Schillreff had the opportunity to explain her actions.
"She figured it was probably worth three day's suspension to throw a pie in somebody's face, Bryan said.
Miss Schillreff said after the trial her pie-throwing days are over.