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Petition Filed Against Knox County R-1 School District to Return Suspended Student to School

(Note: This story has been corrected to include a “petition for judicial review” was filed against the school district. An earlier release of this story stated a “lawsuit” had been filed against the school district.)

By Echo Menges

A petition for judicial review has been filed against the Knox County R-1 School District by the family of one of the students who plead guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge last month. The petition aims to force the district to allow a middle school student to return to the eighth grade. The petition is also asking the court to reverse a decision by the school board to limit the child from participating in “school related activities”.

The petition has been brought against the district by the child’s parents on the child’s behalf.

The child was suspended by the middle school principal following incidents, which were previously reported, in the football locker room in August and September of 2018. The suspension was extended from ten days to 148 days by the district superintendent, which was later extended to include the first day of the next school year by the KCR-1 School Board.

The court documents include five exhibits presented in the petition, which paint a behind the scenes picture of what was happening between the school district and the parents of the child through communications between the two parties.

According to a letter from the KCR-1 Middle School Principal Nancy Goodwin dated September 12, 2018, the suspended child allegedly violated school board policy “by assaulting four younger students in the football locker room before football practices starting on or about August 22, 2018 through September 6, 2018 by using a metal object to poke the students in the butt, through their football pads, while the students were being held.”

The letter goes on to say “your child was also bullying said students in school by harassing them in the hallways and lunch lines and using intimidation tactics to encourage them not to report the assault and harassment.”

The child was banned from school property and school activities.

In a letter dated September 21, 2018 from KCR-1 Superintendent Andy Turgeon to the parents of the child, the superintendent stated he determined the child “poses a continuing danger to the district students”.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to immediately reverse the school board’s decision on the grounds that the child is being deprived of free public education and was deprived of a fair and full trial.

The attorney representing the plaintiff declined to comment for this story.

(Editor’s Note: The Edina Sentinel has redacted the names of the juvenile plaintiff and the plaintiff’s parents from the court documents.)

View the Petition filed in Knox County Case No. 19KN-CC00002 here: Petition Redacted Case No. 19KN-CC00002

View the Exhibits filed in Knox County Case No. 19KN-CC00002 here: Exhibits 1-5 Redacted Case No. 19KN-CC00002_Redacted