Interpretation's Date: January 3, 2001
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: IV. Students
January 3, 2001
Michael J. Vetere, Jr.
Dear Mr. Vetere:
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated December 1, 2000 relative to the Monongalia County Schools Policy - JFCH Alcohol and Controlled Substance Abuse Policy. In particular, you asked:
"If the school system's investigation finds by a preponderance
of evidence to conclude that a student violated the Alcohol and
Controlled Substance Abuse Policy by distributing and selling
a controlled substance on school property and therefore
wishes to administer consequences for this offense and
delineated in the policy, is there any reason for the school
system to alter its allegations as a function of the student's
plea-bargain agreement with the Court?"
Additionally, West Virginia Code 18A-5-1a states that:
(a) A principal shall suspend a pupil from school or from
transportation to or from the school on any school bus if the
pupil, in the determination of the principal, after an informal
hearing pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, has: . . .
finds that the student did commit the alleged violation, the
county board may expel the student.
Policy 4373 "is to compliment the Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (Policy 4372)" which provides that every student shall refrain from the possession or use of illegal drugs. [See §§2.3, 4.1.5] This policy allows principals to temporarily suspend from school any student who commits a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct, §5.3, and allows the county board of education to expel any student who commits a serious violation of the Code of Conduct which the board feels could cause danger to other persons or property, §5.4. Again, this policy requires each county board of education to develop and maintain appropriate policies for implementation of this policy. [See §6.1]
It would appear that your county policy would control as to the issue you raise. In
reviewing the policy provided, I find no reference to the amount, if any, of deference that
must be given to the results of criminal prosecutions, plea agreements, or other
proceedings. Therefore, this is a matter that must be interpreted by the Monongalia
County Board of Education.
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,