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Decision Number
Open enrollment of S.K.
Cassandra K.
Waukee Community School District
Full Text

The sole issue presented in this case is whether the Waukee Community School District Board erred by denying the late filed application for S.K. to open enroll out of Dallas Center-Grimes (DCG) into Waukee Community School District (WCSD).In this case there is no indication that the resident district ever acted on the open enrollment application at all. From a procedural standpoint the receiving district could not act to deny the application until the resident district acted. This Board has serious questions about the procedural posture of this matter; however, rather than send this appeal back to the districts to follow correct procedures the State Board will review the substantive law as it applies to this case and make a decision. Moving forward, if these procedures are not followed this Board will not entertain these appeals.

The State Board applies established criteria when reviewing an open enrollment decision involving a claim of repeated acts of harassment. All of the criteria must be met for this Board to reverse a local decision and grant such a request.This Board has considered S.K.'s subjective belief about the bullying she experienced at DCG, including her belief that an aura of hatred existed toward her. However, S.K.'s subjective belief must be weighed against the law's requirement that Cassandra prove an "objectively hostile school environment." If the environment is not objectively hostile, this standard is not met and her appeal fails.

Even if the behavior rose to the level of pervasive harassment required by Legislature, under the third criterion the appellant must also show that the behavior is likely to continue despite the efforts of school officials to resolve the situation. Here the evidence shows that S.K. reported the objectionable behavior before Christmas break and when she returned to school after Christmas break the behavior stopped. There was no evidence offered to show that the behavior resurfaced or continued after this point. Under these facts one cannot conclude that the behavior was likely to continue despite the efforts of school officials. Thus, this appeal falls short of the third and fourth criterion.

The issue for review here, as in all other appeals brought to us under Iowa Code section 282.18(5), is limited to whether the local school board made error of law in denying the late-filed open enrollment request. We have concluded that the WCSD Board correctly applied Iowa Code section 282.18(5) when it denied the late open enrollment application filed on behalf of S.K. Therefore, we must uphold the local board decision.

The decision of the Board of Directors of the Waukee Community School District made on June 9, 2014, denying the open enrollment request filed on behalf of S.K. is AFFIRMED.