From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Students face long odds on expulsion appeals

Posted by: Steve Brandt Updated: May 8, 2014 - 4:07 PM

When the lawyer for Alyssa Drescher of Wells, Minn., files her appeal for being expelled for inadvertently bringing a pocket knife to school, that appeal will face some long odds.

According to data supplied by the Minnesota Department of Education, the department has reversed only one of the 54 expulsion appeals filed with it since 2004. It has modified just two others, adjusting the duration of the expulsion.

In 32 cases, the state either upheld the district’s decision immediately, or after getting more information.

But that doesn’t mean that an appeal gets no results.  Sometimes the district and student reach an agreement to modify the expulsion after the appeal is filed.

Lawyer Chris Johnson said he is planning to file an appeal for Dresher, who believes her expulsionfrom the United South Central district for the remainder of the school year is draconian punishment for a first-time offense by a B honor roll student. And if that fails, he said, he’ll use the option to appeal the department’s decision in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. 

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