New Castle News

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January 27, 2006

John Elway giving recliner to student harassed for wearing Broncos jersey



BEAVER FALLS — A high school student whose teacher forced him to sit on the floor during a midterm exam — for wearing a Denver Broncos jersey — will soon be sitting pretty in a recliner John Elway helped design.

Bassett furniture was to deliver the Elway Home heat-massage reclining chair to Joshua Vannoy, 17, on Friday, according to Jennifer Maguire, a Bassett representative.

It was the retired Hall of Fame quarterback’s No. 7 jersey Vannoy wore to class at Beaver Falls High School on Jan. 20 — two days before the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Broncos 34-17 in the AFC Championship game — when his honors ethnic relations teacher, John Kelly, forced him to take the test sitting on the floor.

Kelly has called the incident “silly fun.”

“If he felt uncomfortable, then that’s a lesson; that’s what (the class) is designed to do,” Kelly told The Denver Post.

Vannoy hasn’t been to school since.

Vannoy, his attorney, parents and school officials — but not Kelly — were to meet Friday, said Vannoy’s attorney Nick Frisk III.

The meeting was arranged partly to deal with what steps the school will take to ensure Vannoy’s safe return. Frisk said Vannoy has been threatened.

Vannoy is an honors student with a 3.8 grade-point average and shouldn’t be criticized, Frisk said.

“I think it’s unfair. He was not the wrongdoer in the classroom and for him to have to suffer the way he is now is not right,” Frisk said. “Our number one goal is to get Josh back into school in a safe environment.”

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