New Castle News

November 15, 2013

New Castle expels student over knife

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The New Castle school board has taken disciplinary action against a seventh-grader accused of carrying a pocket knife to school.

Following a hearing, the board voted to expel the student from the district for one year.

According to the adjudication and disposition statement, during that year the student cannot attend classes, nor can he engage in any school activities. He also is prohibited from entering school property without permission of the administration.

At the end of the expulsion year, he may reapply for enrollment in the district, but his acceptance is not guaranteed. It is contingent on favorable recommendation of the administration.

The board specified that upon readmission, any future misconduct could cause him to be expelled permanently.

According to district solicitor Charles Sapienza, whenever a student is expelled, the parents are responsible for finding alternative education. If the parents cannot do so, state regulations require the district to pay for five hours of alternative education.

The offense of carrying a weapon calls for a year of expulsion under the district’s weapons policy. It prohibits students from possessing weapons while on school property.

The policy says the term weapon includes, but is not limited to, any knife, cutting instrument or tool, firearms, replica of a weapon and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

District superintendent John Sarandrea said the student was in school with a pocket knife Sept. 27.

The matter also is considered an offense under the state school code and the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.

The board concluded the student’s conduct presented a threat to the health, safety and welfare of other students and faculty at the school.

At its meeting Wednesday, the board adopted several revisions to the district’s weapons policy, to stipulate that incidents involving weapons on school property or school-sponsored activity will necessitate the superintendent to report the incident immediately to the local police, as well as the parent or guardian of any student directly involved as a witness or a suspect. The superintendent also must document all attempts made to reach the parents or guardians and inform them of whether the police have been notified.