Earlier this week, the Delta/Greely School Board voted to expel a student from the school district. The action brings a question to my mind – what happened at the school to result in an expulsion? Expulsions are not common events.
Speaking to several parents who have students in the school district brought mixed opinions as to whether the cause of the expulsion should be disclosed. All of the parents agree that they have confidence in the district administration and the school board to handle the disciplinary action properly, but opinions were mixed about what information should be shared with other parents and the public.
No one expects the district to identify the student who was expelled.
According to Alaska Statute, the option to expel a student is limited to “willful disobedience or open and persistent defiance of reasonable school authority,” “behavior that is inimical to the welfare, safety, or morals of other pupils or a person employed or volunteering at the school,” certain “physical or mental condition(s),” or conviction of certain felonies.”
Based upon the reasons students can be suspended or expelled from the district, the student most likely committed an act that was in some way against others in the school. In such as case, one has to wonder if the act was committed against other students that have yet to come forward, or was it a single act? Without visiting the topic with the student body as a whole, there is no way to know. As we have seen in other situations, people are often afraid to come forward if they fell they are the only victim.
So are these reasons significant enough to warrant notification to other parents and the public about what is taking place within our schools?
The school board meeting notice only said the board would be meeting to discuss a topic in executive session that might prejudice the reputation of an individual. There was no notice that the board was considering expelling a student.
I believe parents and the public have a right to know what occurs within our public institutions. We should not have to rely on rumors or secondhand accounts of what might have happened to result in the school board taking the unusual action of expelling a youth in our community from the right to receive free public education at our schools.
The district should publish a statement concerning why it took the action to expel a student.