Amanda was verbally harassed by a small group of girls with whom she associated. The verbal harassment started in the fall of 2005 and never escalated beyond verbal sniping. The girl identified as the overwhelming source of the verbal harassment is not going to attend the same high school as Amanda. Nevertheless an open enrollment request was filed on behalf of Amanda on May 15, well after the March 1 deadline.
One of the criteria used to determine whether to grant relief to such an appeal is the harassment must have happened after March 1, or the extent of the problem must not have been known until after March 1, so the parents could not have filed their applications in a timely manner.
Ms. Schamerhorn failed to meet this criterion, because the verbal threats started in August of 2005 and continued throughout the 2005-06 school year. It was reported to school staff who handled the referral appropriately. The intervention worked but only short-term.
In addition, the district offered to discuss enrollment in other high schools away from the primary verbal aggressor, and no evidence was presented as to why Amanda would not be safe in those schools. It appears that convenience is the primary concern behind the open enrollment request.
It is recommended that the decision of the Board of Directors of the Des Moines Public Community School District made on June 6, 2006, denying the open enrollment request filed on behalf of Amanda Schamerhorn be AFFIRMED.