While lawyers determine who will hear the appeal of an expelled Belgrade High School student, a Belgrade School Board trustee said there is more to the story.
Trustee Sherie Jolliff said Friday the student in question has been in trouble before and the board drew up a behavioral contract to deal with him. When he was accused of sexual harassment in March, the student violated the contract and was expelled, Jolliff said.
“We told him ‘You were already on a contract and you blew it. Good bye,’” she said.
Jolliff declined to comment for this story two weeks ago, but said she felt inclined to talk after a follow-up article appeared in the Belgrade News Friday — to air more about the case.
“He was expelled because he blew the contract,” she said.
On April 13, the school board expelled the student, whose name has been withheld. He was accused of sexually harassing another student in March, according to school records. At that time, the family said school officials did not provide any reason for the expulsion.
The family appealed the expulsion to County Superintendent of Schools Mary Ellen Fitzgerald in May, according to county records. State Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau ruled last week that Fitzgerald can hear the case after the School Board filed a motion to dismiss the matter.
But trustees have called Fitzgerald’s ability to be impartial into question and asked her to appoint a superintendent from another county to preside, according to an affidavit filed by board attorney Tony C. Koenig.
Under state law, the district argued, “a county superintendent may not hear or decide matters of controversy when either party” files an affidavit disqualifying the county superintendent.
Nothing has moved much since then, Fitzgerald said Monday. She is still waiting to hear from the state Office of Public Instruction and is composing a written request so another county superintendent can step in.