Shawnee Board of Education voted unanimously to uphold a suspension for a freshman student.
The student’s mother, Leann Edwards, identified the student, who was not identified by school district officials in the appeal, as Micah.
Board member April Stobbe recused herself because of a mutual affiliation with the group Tri-Hi-Y.
The student was suspended after a fight in December, which involved two other girls who identified as students “B” and “C.”
Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent Marc Moore explained that Micah was suspended after a “physical altercation” with two other students. The first altercation was strictly verbal, and happened between classes, Moore said.
A school administrator, Colby Cagle, gave testimony that he pulled each of the girls aside during the next class and discussed the altercation. Cagle testified he was confident that there would not be another altercation at that point.
During the lunch hour, Cagle said he was keep an eye on the three girls, and school administrator Roger McCoin said he noticed five girls, including the three girls in the initial altercation, in the school parking lot. He described the conversation as “civil.”
Two of the girls – who later were identified to be Micah’s sisters and non-students – then left the premises.
Edwards later explained that her two older daughters went to pick Micah up based on instructions from Edwards’ husband. However, Micah declined to leave with them and wanted to finish her classes that day, Edwards said.
After lunch, while all the students were returning to class, Cagle explained that all three girls were initially in separate areas of a hallway. However, students “B” and “C” ran past him, toward Micah.
When Cagle caught up with the students, a verbal altercation had begun between the three girls. Cagle separated the students, and stood between Micah and student “B.”
As the verbal altercation continued – with Cagle between the students – he said student “B” punched over him at Micah. As Cagle was restraining student “B,” he said Micah “came over” his back, punching at student “B.”
Cagle tried repeated to stop the altercation and restrain the girls, forcing himself in between them and getting hit in the process, he said.
Page 2 of 2 - With the assistance of another teacher, Cagle said he was able to get the students separated and taken to different offices.
Micah was taken to the courthouse, though Cagle declined to press assault charges against any of the students, he said during the hearing.
After discussion among school administrators, Micah was suspended for the remainder of the semester, and all of the next semester. She would be allowed to return in August 2013.
“I feel like this suspension is too much,” Edwards said.
Micah was attacked by two other girls, the student’s mother said.
Edwards said she never received a phone call after the first altercation, and she didn’t believe enough had been done after the first altercation.
“I think the fight could’ve been prevented, if different steps had been taken by the principal at that time,” she said.
“I think I should have gotten a phone call,” Edwards added.
Edwards said she was not “called into a meeting” to discuss the matter, and was told her daughter would have to repeat her freshman year.
However, after she filed an appeal with Moore, the superintendent, Lee Hamilton, the principal, and other administrators considered the altercations again, and decided to change Micah’s suspension to 9-weeks.
They also allowed her to take her semester tests, and to take online classes. Through this, she will be able to graduate on time, Moore said.
Moore said he did uphold the suspension because of the danger Micah caused to Cagle.
Edwards said she believes the suspension is still unwarranted because her daughter was being attacked and simply defended herself.
“She wasn’t the aggressor, so I just think her punishment is over the top,” Edwards added. “It’s just unfair when you don’t want to fight at school and something like this happens.”
The board voted unanimously to uphold the 9-week suspension.