Report: Pasco expelled 38 students last school year

LAND O' LAKES - Pasco County schools expelled 38 students this past school year for a variety of infractions that included fighting, drug possession and assaults on other students or school staff members, according to district records and a report to the school board.High schools accounted for 19 of the expulsions, middle schools nine and education centers 10.The cumulative expulsion report, which was included in the school board's agenda packet for the Tuesday evening board meeting, covered the period from Aug. 21 through this week, and included four expulsions that were on the Tuesday agenda. Schwettman Education Center in New Port Richey had the most expulsions, with five. Next was Irvin Education Center in Dade City, which had four. Those two centers are alternative schools that serve students who often already had disciplinary problems in their regular schools.The high schools that expelled the most students were Pasco High and Sunlake High, with three each. Stewart Middle in Zephyrhills, which also expelled three students, had the highest number among middle schools.Most expulsions were handled with routine school board votes, but a 17-year-old Sunlake High student accused of fighting in the cafeteria and assaulting two administrators appealed his case and one of his parents requested a rare open expulsion hearing before the school board. Most expulsions aren't appealed, but when they are the hearings usually are closed.This hearing, held April 16, included the showing of video of the Feb. 28 fight in which an assistant principal trying to intervene was knocked to the ground and injured. The student also pushed the school's plant manager.An attorney representing the teenager said the other student in the fight had been harassing the teen for several days and that's what led to the altercation, but the school board voted to expel the teen anyway. Another case drew attention throughout the Tampa Bay area.A 17-year-old J.W. Mitchell High student expelled March 5 was accused of attacking another girl as they rode home on a school bus, records said. That case became something of a media sensation because a third student videotaped the attack and the video was later shared on the Internet.
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