EVANSTON — An 18-year-old Evanston High School senior pleaded guilty in Uinta County Circuit Court to battery of a fellow student in an incident that occurred at the high school on May 1. Pursuant to a plea agreement with the Uinta County Attorney’s Office, Saige Synan has been sentenced to 180 days in jail with 179 suspended, six months of unsupervised probation, $205 in court fees and an as yet undetermined amount of restitution for the victim’s medical bills.
Synan, who entered the guilty plea on Monday, May 20, will also be required to undergo an anger management evaluation.
Evanston Police Department Officer Cody Saloga responded to EHS on the afternoon of May 1 after receiving a call about an assault. A police report from the incident notes that Saloga was met by EHS Principal Merle Lester, who informed him that Synan had punched another student several times.
Statements from the victim and witnesses indicated Synan had confronted the victim in a school hallway about rumors Synan believed the victim had spread about him at school. Synan then proceeded to punch the victim numerous times until the victim fell to the floor, after which Synan continued to punch and kick the victim until a male staff member was able to restrain him.
On his arrival, Saloga noted swelling and multiple bruises to the victim’s facial areas and chest, along with dried blood on the victim’s nose and clothing.
A review of video footage from EHS security cameras showed Synan punching the victim in the face until the victim’s head “bounces off the wall,” followed by continued punching and kicking while the victim was on the floor. Video footage showed a male student attempting to pull Synan off the victim but being unsuccessful until a male staff member intervened.
There apparently was also cellphone video taken of the incident.
The victim’s mother took him to the hospital for evaluation, where he reportedly was diagnosed with bruised ribs, a concussion, vision problems in one eye and multiple nasal fractures. The victim ultimately required surgery to repair the nasal fractures.
When reached for comment, Uinta County School District No. 1 Superintendent Ryan Thomas in an email to the Herald said, “The safety and security of our students and staff is a priority at Evanston High School (EHS). EHS follows their handbook, district policy and state statute to provide the highest level of safety and security possible for our students and staff. EHS cannot comment on the discipline of an individual student.”
According to the 2018-19 EHS Student Handbook, a violation of public law is a category III disciplinary violation, which carries one to three days of out-of-school suspension for a first offense, three to five days out-of-school suspension for a second offense and 5-10 days out-of-school suspension and/or recommendation of expulsion for a third offense. The handbook also says student discipline may be determined on a case-by-case basis. It is not clear whether Synan had any previous disciplinary offenses.