Officials say the good news is that the number of city students being expelled from school dropped significantly, from 27 in 2007-08 to 16 during the most recent school year.
But the bad news is that the cases involving the expulsions “were more involved,” said Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky.
Five Joseph A. Foran High School students, one from Jonathan Law High School, and six Alternative Education High students were expelled for inappropriate behavior, officials said. Additionally, one Harborside Middle School student and two from West Shore Middle School were expelled, according to a report produced by school administrators. The annual expulsion report is mandated by the state.
The report details that a 17-year-old Foran student was expelled for one year last July for inappropriate sexual behavior in school; an Alternative Education student, also 17, was expelled in February for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a weapon on school grounds, and an 18-year-old Law student was expelled in May for threatening via the Internet to shoot up the school.
Also, the report says, on June 10, two Foran students were expelled: one for one semester for igniting fireworks in the school, causing the building to be evacuated, and another for a school year for inappropriate and threatening text messaging.
Other students were expelled for threatening staff members, possession of marijuana at school, stealing and possession of stolen property, bullying and threatening, and threats made to students, the report says.
“The value of the expulsion report is it gives us knowledge of what the teachers and administrators have to face in the building,” said Board of Education Chairman David Hourigan, D-4. “It gives us a perspective as to what goes on during the day.”
Hourigan said it’s interesting that the total number of expulsion cases has declined since last year. He said the state has amended the expulsion law, which makes it more likely students will be expelled.
The law previously allowed administrators to suspend students five times, for up to 10 days or a total of 50 days, before expulsion, but now students can only be suspended for 10 days before they have to be expelled.
As for the severity of the cases, Hourigan said, unfortunately “these things happen year after year.”
“Our hope is the number of incidents decreases as the kids get wiser,” Hourigan added.
ORIGINAL STORY BY BRIAN MCREADY