Cameron, a 9th grader at Oelwein High School, admits that he knowingly brought a Schedule I controlled substance (marijuana) with the intent to sell the same. Upon being caught at school on a school day with the drug, Cameron was suspended pending an expulsion hearing. The Oelwein school board voted December 4 to expel Cameron for the remainder of the school year. The appeal to the State Board was based on the Appellant's argument that the punishment was too harsh, and that the student ("Student B") who helped Cameron broker a deal for the sale of the marijuana was only expelled for the remainder of the first semester.An argument that one student is treated disparately from another requires an initial showing that the students are "similarly situated." However, Cameron and Student B are not similarly situated. They do not stand accused of the same criminal offense. Cameron's is the more egregious violation. The fact that this was a "first offense" for Cameron is not persuasive. As long as a punishment is reasonable, the punishment is a policy decision "best left to the local board and school officials." The State Board of Education does not sit as a " 'super school board' substituting its judgment for that of the elected board officials." The elected members of the Oelwein Community School District Board did not act unreasonably when they voted to expel Cameron for the remainder of the school year. And, in fact, in this case the District has gone beyond what it is obligated to do in offering a licensed teacher to work with Cameron during the expulsion period. This Board applauds the District in making its employee available to Cameron, and urges Cameron to fully cooperate with the designated teacher so that he might yet graduate with his class in 2013.
The decision of the Board of Directors of the Oelwein Community School District made on December 4, 2009, expelling Cameron Wilson from the District for the balance of the 2009-10 school year is AFFIRMED.