Archive for Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Board reduces expulsion term

Parents appeal year’s ouster

October 18, 2006

Tonganoxie school board members on Monday reduced the amount of time a student will be out of school for allegedly selling prescription drugs.

The student was one of two ninth-graders whom district staff members expelled for the remainder of the school year after allegedly distributing the prescription drug hydrodocone to four other freshmen. The student's parents appealed the expulsion to the school board.

Superintendent Richard Erickson said Tuesday that no request was made for the other student who was expelled.

On Monday, five of the seven Tonganoxie school board members met in a series of closed-door meetings. When they emerged, they voted,

5-0, that the student could return to school in January.

According to district guidelines, parents of minor students or students who are 18 or older can appeal the district's expulsion decision within 10 days.

The district has 20 days to set a hearing, during which the school board acts as an appeals panel.

As part of their decision Monday, board members said Tonganoxie Junior High School Principal Steve Woolf would determine whether the student is allowed to make up work this semester.

Monday night, board members met in executive session with their attorney for 10 minutes.

Then, they met in another executive session with the student and his parents. Also in the executive session were Woolf, assistant junior high principal Darren Neas and the district's attorney, Cindy Kelly.

During the executive session, which lasted about 90 minutes, more than a dozen other people talked individually to board members. These included school faculty, friends of the boy and his family, and others in the community.

After meeting with their attorney in another executive session, board members reconvened in open session and voted 5-0 to amend the student's expulsion.

Board member Bob DeHoff did not participate in the executive sessions and did not vote, citing conflict of interest because of his friendship with the boy and his family. Darlyn Hansen was absent.

Also Monday, the board voted to hire Jessica Amayo for food service at Tonganoxie High School.

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