School board expels high school student

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The board of education last week expelled a student who allegedly made threatening comments against other students and teachers.

According to minutes made public yesterday, the board voted unanimously in executive session to expel the student &8220;from the Demopolis City Schools and all activities.

The minutes say &8220;parents, a son and daughter, a police officer and Principal [Dr. Isaac] Espy were in attendance&8221; for the closed student hearing. The son was the student in question.

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The hearing resulted from an April 24 event when Espy said another student came to him with concerns about threats. Espy said he interviewed the student in question and searched his car.

Espy said he found no gun or hit list but felt that the nature of the threats warranted disciplinary action. He said on April 26 that he would seek expulsion of the student.

Rumors spread throughout the community of a student with a gun and a hit list that included the name of 400 students and teachers. The presence of the fire department, who were doing normal training exercises at the school, further flamed the rumors.

Police officials were present at the school on the Thursday following the scare in order to calm rumors. Public Safety Director Jeff Manuel said no arrests were made in connection to the events. He also said police would maintain a presence at the school through the end of the year to help ease the minds of parents and students.

Espy said that at no time were the students in danger. He characterized the happenings as a &8220;minor administrative event&8221; and blamed Internet rumors for the hysteria that surrounded the school.

The student&8217;s expulsion was the second of two student hearings held that night. The board also reconfirmed the suspension of a middle school student who has been remanded to the alternative school in Linden.

On the same night, the board reviewed its safety procedures. The following items were noted by the board:

4All four schools have safety plans. The schools provide every staff and faculty member with training on the safety plans.

4Each school provide fire, weather and lockdown drills.

4All exterior doors have panic locks and are locked with the exemption of front doors and particular side doors at each school.

4Each school has a designated place to go in case of an evacuation plan.

4Drug dogs and drug testing are provided.

4All four schools have surveillance cameras and each your more are added.