Ukrainec, school district face civil suit after Free Hug Day incident

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW — The Riverview Community School District and teacher Don Ukrainec, are facing a civil suit by the family of the student who Ukrainec was accused of hitting Feb. 13 during Free Hug Day.

The suit was filed Aug. 19 and is asking for $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit claims that Ukrainec used profane language, used squirt guns on students, and hit male students in their groins. It further alleges that the school district allowed Ukrainec to be unprofessional, and harass and intimidate students while he was a teacher at Riverview Community High School.

Ukrainec was never charged criminally for the incident in which he was accused of hitting a student who attempted to hug him on Free Hug Day, even though he had told the student that he did not want to be he hugged.

Ukrainec was suspended for four months until June when his attorneys and the district came to a resolution, which was to not fire the instructor, but instead assign him to Seitz Middle School. At that June meeting, hundreds of supporters file into a cramped cafeteria room while Ukrainec’s fate was being decided.

(Charity B. Smith can be reached at