education pictures
Decision Number
175
Book
28
Month
March
Year
2018
In RE
Expulsion of M.F.
Appellant
J.F. and G.F.
Appellee
Clear Creek Amana CSD
Summary

The Appellants seek reversal of a November 30, 2017 decision by Clear Creek Amana Community School District ("District") Board ("Board") expelling M.F. for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year and prohibiting M.F. from attending any school activities. An in person evidentiary hearing was held in this matter on February 1, 2018, before designated administrative law judge, Nicole M. Proesch, J.D., pursuant to agency rules found at 281 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 6. The Appellants were present with M.F. and were unrepresented. Superintendent Tim Kuehl ("Superintendent Kuehl") appeared on behalf of the District and was represented by attorney Kristy Latta. Also present was High School Principal Mark Moody ("Principal Moody"). M.F. was a fourteen year old freshman at Clear Creek Amana High School during the 2017-2018 school year. M.F. and his family are residents of the District and M.F. has been attending schools in the District since he was in kindergarten. During the 2016-2017 school year M.F. attended middle school in the District. During that school year M.F. had nine disciplinary issues relating to class disruption, theft, truancy, and fighting.

Another incident occurred in the fall of 2017. The District is a 1:1 laptop school that assigns a Chrome Books to each of its students for use of a learning management system. On November 14, 2016, the District experienced multiple internet outages. The outages impacted hundreds of students from 6th to 12th grades and disrupted learning. The District was able to trace the internet outages back to M.F. M.F. had used a cell phone application to attack the District's computer network, causing it to crash.

At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, M.F. was readmitted to the regular school program at the high school under the terms of a readmission agreement. The readmission agreement also noted the District's authority to expel M.F. On November 17, 2017, two students reported to Principal Moody that M.F. talked about using drugs before school. Additionally, one of M.F.'s teachers reported that M.F. was acting odd in class. M.F. was escorted to Principal Moody's office. M.F. admitted that he used illegal drugs before coming to school and that he was under the influence. Administration found that M.F.'s behavior violated school rules relating to student conduct and the use of illegal substance and that he should be suspended for two days. However, because of the readmission agreement, M.F. was placed on out of school suspension pending a hearing before the Board on a recommendation that M.F. be expelled for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year.

A hearing was held on November 30, 2017, before the Board. .F. and G.F. were notified and invited to the hearing in a letter sent on November 27, 2018. J.F. provided a written statement to the Board and did not participate in the hearing. The Board voted 7-0 to expel M.F. and prohibit him from being on school grounds or at school related activities for the remainder of the year. M.F. may be readmitted after serving the period of expulsion, getting a mental health and substance abuse evaluation and following through on recommendations.

The Appellants do not argue that M.F. did not violate the school policy or rule. Nor do they argue that M.F. was denied due process. The sole basis of this appeal is the reasonableness of M.F.'s punishment for being under the influence of a drug that was not legally prescribed to him to take. As long as the punishment of the Board is reasonable, the decision will be upheld. Based on the record before us, the State Board cannot say that the decision of the Board was unreasonable, given the circumstances in this case and the long history of disciplinary issues with M.F. After the incident in the 2016-2017 school year, M.F. was readmitted to school after reading and signing a readmission agreement with the school. M.F. and his parents were both aware that any further disciplinary issues could result in M.F. being expelled.

For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Board made on November 30, 2017, expelling M.F. for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year and prohibiting M.F. from attending any school activities is hereby AFFIRMED.