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Decision Number
Reid S., Open Enrollment
Quentin and Mandie S.
Oelwein Community School District
Full Text

The appellants seek reversal of a decision made by the Oelwein Community School District denying an open enrollment application filed on behalf of their son.

The sole issue presented is whether the circumstances meet the criteria established by this Board for granting a late-filed open enrollment based on pervasive harassment of the student. The controlling statute for this appeal is the open enrollment law, Iowa Code section 282.18 (2011), and the exception to the March 1st filing deadline for applications that seek open enrollment due to ''repeated acts of harassment of the student.'' The State Board applies four established criteria when reviewing an open enrollment decision involving a claim of repeated acts of harassment. All four criteria must be met for this Board to reverse the local board decision.

Reid and his younger sister both began the past school year attending the Oelwein district. The sister experienced harassment and the district board approved a mid-year open enrollment application allowing her to transfer to a neighboring district. Reid's sister continued to receive harassing text messages from Oelwein students and was confronted while attending a track meet held at Oelwein on May 1st. The Oelwein School Board denied a late-filed application for Reid to open enroll to the neighboring district his sister is attending.

We accept that Reid was aware of threatening conduct directed toward his sister and was concerned for her safety if he continued to play football and basketball for Oelwein and she attended his sporting events. Even so, the plain language of section 282.18(5) limits this Board's review to cases involving "repeated acts of harassment of the student." Our second criterion incorporates this requirement. No evidence was presented to show that Reid was personally subjected to harassment. The second criterion was not met.

The family remains free to make the decisions they deem to be best for their children and they may choose to enroll Reid in the neighboring district outside of the open enrollment process. This appeal and all others brought under the open enrollment law is about only whether the local school board committed an error of law. We conclude that the Oelwein School Board applied Iowa Code section 282.18(5) appropriately in this case when it denied the late open enrollment application.