Zero-tolerance policy guides school expulsions

Local school officials say they use expulsion as a last resort to enforce district and state policies.
Krystle Wagner
Oct 19, 2012

But the Spring Lake school board was faced this week with a rare case of expelling a student for twice violating the district’s substance abuse policy.

“It’s sad when a student makes decisions of this nature,” Spring Lake Superintendent Dennis Furton said.

Still, Furton said that was only the second or third expulsion of a student in the five years he's been the district's chief administrator. While he said it’s sad when these cases arise, Furton said it would be even sadder if officials didn’t take action.

When situations call for expulsion, Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said one of the first things that comes to mind is safety for the overall student population.

“The second thing is to help (the student) to get past the difficulties they’re having and get back on track,” he said.

Szymoniak said state law requires students to automatically be expelled for bringing dangerous weapons to school, including a knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, and distribution of controlled substances at school. On rare occasions, students have been expelled for chronic misbehavior such as repeated incidences of bullying, Szymoniak said.

Last year, seven students were expelled from the Fruitport district for one of those reasons, Szymoniak said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

 

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