School board approves new disciplinary process

Published 10:58 am Friday, August 14, 2015

Members of the Southampton County School Board approved a measure at Monday’s meeting to alter the public school’s disciplinary process.

The new process adds an additional means through which the parents or guardians of expelled students can appeal the expulsion decision.

Previously, when a school principal determined that a student had committed an offense meriting expulsion, written notice was sent to the students’ parents and a disciplinary hearing was scheduled. The school board’s three-member disciplinary committee presided over the hearing and, upon hearing evidence from both school officials and the student, decided if the student should be expelled.

The committee had to reach a unanimous decision for the student to be expelled. Parents or guardians, if dissatisfied with the decision, could appeal and receive another hearing, with the entire school board

With the revision adopted on Monday, Dr. Alvera J. Parrish, superintendent of Southampton County schools, will have first call on whether or not the student should be expelled. Parents or guardians then appeal Dr. Parrish’s decision by going to the disciplinary committee, and then have the option to appeal once more to the full school board.

“We’ve been discussing that students and parents need to know that there are three levels to a discipline decision — first the school, then the superintendent and finally the school board,” said Dr. Deborah Goodwyn, chairman of the school board. “So Dr. Parrish has been working to develop a clearer policy to start this new school year. This way students will understand the three distinct levels of appeal.”