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Appeal of expulsion can do some good, even if a win is rare

  • May 9, 2014 - 6:34 PM

Alyssa Drescher’s appeal of her expulsion for accidentally bringing a pocketknife to school 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 since 2004. In 32 cases, the state upheld the district’s decision immediately or after getting more information. It has changed the length of just two expulsions.

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

Lawyer Chris Johnson said he is planning to file an appeal for Drescher, a Wells, Minn., teenager, who believes her expulsion from the United South Central District for the remainder of the school year is too harsh for a first-time offense by a B honor roll student. If that fails, Johnson said, he’ll use the option to appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, more officials are jumping on the bandwagon for Drescher. Rep. Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, wrote Friday to Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius to urge her to overturn the expulsion pending the appeal. “It’s clear that the punishment for Miss Drescher’s actions is misplaced,” Savick wrote.

Steve Brandt

 

2 of 4 key vacancies filled at S. Washington schools

The South Washington County schools this week filled two of its four vacancies for top administrators.

Julie Nielsen, former principal of Middleton Elementary School in Woodbury, will be one of two new assistant superintendents. The other will be Michael Johnson, an administrator in the River Falls School District and an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

School board Chairman Ron Kath said that the recent departure of four top administrators does not indicate unrest in Superintendent Keith Jacobus’ administration. For example, departing Assistant Superintendent Dave Bernhardson was recently named superintendent in Inver Grove Heights.

Meanwhile, an interim replacement for longtime school board member Jim Gelbmann will likely be announced June 19.

Libor Jany

 

Sibley principal makes a surprise departure

Ryan Redetzke, principal at Henry Sibley High School, unexpectedly announced to staff members, students and parents on Thursday that he is resigning, effective June 30.

He said he was resigning for “personal and professional reasons” and has “chosen to step down and pursue another opportunity.”

Carrie Hilger, a spokeswoman for the district, confirmed that Redetzke had accepted a job elsewhere.

In an e-mail to parents on Thursday, he said “the decision does not come easily as I have enjoyed my time here.”

“We have enjoyed having Mr. Redetzke as part of Sibley this year,” Superintendent Nancy Allen-Mastro said in a statement. “We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”

This was Redetzke’s first year as principal at Henry Sibley. The district wants to fill the position by the end of June. District officials will use surveys conducted in last year’s principal search to select potential candidates, according to a district statement.

Erin Adler

© 2014 Star Tribune