John was 1 of 36 students in his class. The harassment of John started in 5th grade. For the past year or so, a group of 8 male students bullied John. The boys continously called John "gay" and made vulgar remarks of a suggestive sexual nature about John and his best male friend.In November or December 2003, John's parents told him he would have to tough it out because they thought they had missed the open enrollment deadline (The student handbook incorrectly reflected a deadline of October 31st.).
John's palm pilot was stolen; his school days consisted of teasing, taunting, having his books and school materials hidden and being laughed at. On February 10, he was punched in the shoulder and on the next day, John was punched in the groin. He refused to go to school the next day because he told his mother that "they are going to kill me."
The principal did not disagree with the facts presented by Appellant. He addressed the issue one-on-one with each aggressor. After John was punched in the grion, Appellant filed a formal grievance. A letter was sent to all parents in the District concerning harassment. John became argumentative and refused help in math and science. On April 1, the principal told Appellant that her presence at the board meeting was not necessary. The Board denied John's request to open enroll to Sac City.
The Iowa Code section 282.18(5) demands that the state board "exercise broad discretion to achieve just and equitable results that are in the best interest of the affected child." We view thjis language as a mandate to give the benefit of any doube to the child.
That the decision of the Newell-Fonda Community School District's Board of Directors, made on April 5, 2004, was reversed.