No charges against 2 SLO County educators accused of assaulting students

San Luis Obispo Superior Court
San Luis Obispo Superior Court

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office will not pursue charges against two local educators accused of assaulting students following a months-long review process of the two cases.

Neither Russ Griffith, a former dean of students at Mission Prep High School, nor Chris Ferree, an Atascadero High School teacher and wrestling coach, will be charged after the DA's Office found insufficient evidence in both cases, it announced Wednesday in a press release.

Griffith was accused of placing a student in a chokehold for using profanity in the school lunchroom.

"The concern was the manner and degree of force Mr. Griffith used in reprimanding the student," according to the district attorney's office.

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For Ferree, who was accused of assaulting a student who was being disruptive in class, "the general concern was that Mr. Ferree's physical response to the student's conduct was excessive."

Both alleged assaults occurred in November 2017. The cases were reviewed together, the DA's Office said, because both "involved alleged misconduct by a school official while addressing perceived student misbehavior."

"Given the state of the evidence and applicable law, it was concluded the charge of battery in each instance could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and the filing of criminal charges has been declined," the release said.

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Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler