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Decision Number
W.B. and D.B.
Clinton Community School District
Full Text

The Appellants seek reversal of a June 12, 2017, decision by Clinton Community School District ("District") Board of Directors ("Board") denying a late filed open enrollment request on behalf of their minor child, W.B. The Appellants and their minor son, W.B., are residents of the District. They have lived in the District for twenty-four years and W.B. has attended school in the District since he was three years old. W.B. is fourteen years old and is currently dual-enrolled in 8th grade at the Clinton Middle School for the 2017-2018 school year. W.B. began homeschooling and dual enrollment in April of 2017. W.B. has mild Asperger's Syndrome and receives special education services through the District.

During the 2016-2017 school year, W.B. struggled socially at school and told D.B. that he did not feel safe in school. D.B. testified that in October of 2016, W.B. was having issues during lunch with other students ripping his lanyard off of his neck, taking his glasses and not giving them back. On October 24, 2017, Ms. Rallie spoke with W.B. and he took responsibility for hitting others with his lanyard and his other classmate took responsibility for physical contact with W.B. Both students agreed they were "messing around" outside calling each other names, pushing, and hitting each other with their lanyards.

On March 27, 2017, W.B. got angry at lunch when staff asked his girlfriend to sit with her group at lunch. W.B. slammed his phone down on the table several times and yelled at staff. W.B.'s phone was taken from him during the incident because staff thought he may break the phone and D.B. testified she didn't think they had a right to take his phone. D.B. took W.B. home and W.B. has not returned to school.

The issue for review in this case is whether or not the Board made an error of law in denying the late filed open enrollment request. The first criterion requires that the harassment must have occurred after March 1 or that the extent of the harassment could not be known until after the deadline. Here the objective evidence shows that all alleged incidents of harassment complained of ? broken lanyards, name-calling, and lewd comments - all occurred just before the March 1 deadline. Under the second criterion, the requirement of an objectively hostile school environment means that the conduct complained of would have negatively affected a reasonable student in W.B.'s position. While we do not condone the name calling or lewd comments they do not amount to harassment under the law. Nor do we believe that the mutual horseplay described here amounts to harassment.

Under the third criterion, the evidence must show the harassment is like likely to continue despite the efforts of school officials to resolve the situation. Here the evidence shows every instance that was brought to the attention of school officials was dealt with and addressed within days of D.B. reporting it to school officials. Since the appeal fails on the first three criterion, there is no need to review the fourth criterion.

For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Board made on June 12, 2017, denying the open enrollment request filed on behalf of W.B. is AFFIRMED.