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Decision Number
Jon and Josh Perry
Mike & Sharon Perry
Southern Cal Community School District
Full Text

This case arises from incidents of illegal possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages by several students of the District at a West Des Moines hotel during the 2003 state wrestling tournament. Following a telephone call from a parent, the principal started interviewing students. Ultimately 25 students were punished; 16 for violation of the "mere presence" provision of the good conduct rule. Jon and Josh Perry were among those found in violation. Both boys stated they were heavy sleepers and would not necessarily have known if a party was going on in their room. Periodic room checks were performed by the District's coaches, who testified they saw no alcoholic beverages in the rooms or consumed by the students.

The primary argument of Appellants is that the young men were where they were supposed to be and they had no other options available to them, assuming that they were aware of the other students drinking alcohol. The evidence may have been circumstantial; it may have consisted solely of hearsay. But, as long as a preponderance of the evidence pointed to the culpability of a student, he could be punished under the good conduct rule. It was reasonable for the District's Board to have concluded that Josh and Jon violated the good conduct "mere presence" rule and to punish them accordingly.

It was entirely reasonable to give credibility to the students who admitted their own guilt and implicated the Perrys and to discount the statements of the District's employees. The students had no incentive not to be truthful about the conduct of their peers; their punishments were not dependent on what they said about others. The school personnel supervising the students had their jobs on the line. We found that the Perry boys violated the good conduct policy of the District by their knowing presence in the company of students who were consuming alcoholic beverages.

That the decision of the Board of Directors of the Southern Cal Community School District, made on April 24, 2003, finding that Josh and Jon Perry violated the good conduct "mere presence" rule and punished them accordingly, was affirmed.