Heidelberg High School expels teen for fighting
May 29, 2007
HEIDELBERG, Germany — A Heidelberg High School freshman accused of assaulting the school principal and assistant principal earlier this month after a hallway dispute with another girl was expelled last week through the rest of this school year and into the next.
The 16-year-old will not be readmitted to the school until January at the earliest. At that point, a school disciplinary hearing committee decided, the girl would be considered for admission if her parents provide documentation that she has attended anger-management classes, said Dennis Bohannon, a spokesman for Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe.
Until the May 11 incident at the school, the girl had had no disciplinary actions against her and was a good student, Bohannon said. Partly because of that, the school is arranging for her to finish her work for this year.
“She’ll have to finish that work and get an outside proctor to take the tests. If she finishes the work and passes the tests, she will have semester grades,” he said.
Her options next year, if she stays in Germany, are to take correspondence classes, attend a private school or be home-schooled, Bohannon said. Attending another DODDS high school, such as the one in Mannheim, is not an option, he said. “Once you’re expelled from one, you’re expelled from them all,” he said.
According to school officials, the girl got into a dispute in the school lobby just before school let out for the day. The principal and assistant principal intervened, they said, ordering students who had gathered to watch to disperse. The girl also left and got on a waiting school bus.
Administrators boarded the bus and ordered her to get off and go to the office. She then hit them, school officials said, causing bruising and muscle strains.
Some parents have questioned the administrators’ response, suggesting they handled the incident poorly and allowed it to escalate. But Bohannon said the administrators’ actions were not being questioned.
They followed the girl onto the bus, he said, because they were concerned for the safety of other students on the bus. “No one had any idea what was going to happen next,” he said.
The school hearing was the first of two. The Heidelberg garrison commander was also to meet with the parents and decide what options were available. “Sending them home (to the States) is really the last possibility,” said Jeff Young, a garrison spokesman.
He said that an “early return of dependents” action is a last resort because of the disruption it could cause a family, and could result in a soldier’s being in Germany, and possibly deploying, without family support.
The five-person school committee included administrators, teachers and a military representative, Bohannon said.