A 17-year-old District youth who was suspended temporarily from Wilson High School last year after being charged with rape filed suit yesterday against the school's principal and the District government, asking $3 million in damages.

After a school system hearing officer allowed the student to return, Principal Michael Durso stayed away from school in protest for a time, prompting conflict between him and the school superintendent. The rape charge was later dropped.

The suit, filed in Superior Court by the student and his mother, contends that the student's legal rights, including his right to privacy, were violated and that he suffered emotional distress.

D.C. police told school officials that the student was arrested on April 14, 1986, and charged in an incident that school officials said did not occur on school grounds. Durso said he told the student he could not return and would have to be transferred. The student's mother appealed.

After the student's reinstatement, Durso said he would not return unless the student was sent elsewhere.

Ordered back to work on May 5, he said he would disobey if the student remained. However, after charges were dropped that day, he said he would return the next day.

The student said he had expected the charges to be dropped, "because I am innocent."

Durso and a city spokesman said they had not seen the suit, and declined to comment.