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Department of Education

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Appeal Decisions

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BOOK: 14 
MONTH-YEAR: May - 1997
IN RE: In re Joseph Anderegg
APPELLANT: Gene Anderegg
APPELLEE: Charles City Community School District
KEYWORDS: Good Conduct Policy
DETAILS: On August 7, 1996, Joseph and two other Charles City ath-letes were stopped by a policeman in Waverly, Iowa, and found to be in possession of alcohol.  As a result, Joe was referred to the
Office of Juvenile Court Services on a complaint of possession of alcohol under the legal age in violation of Code section 123.46.  Although the date of the actual incident was August 7, 1996, the date the written report was received and file stamped by the Juvenile Court office was August 13, 1996. According to the terms of the good conduct policy, Joseph had engaged in ''prohibited conduct'' on August 7, 1996.  This triggered the ''duty to notify'' requiring that ''[a] student who is charged with prohibited conduct, or referred to juvenile court for alleged prohibited conduct, by a law enforcement officer, must notify his/her building principal or designated staff member within one week of that event.''
  Failure to notify a building principal or other designated staff member as required results ''in ineligibility from all extra-curricular and co-curricular activities for 12 calendar months from the discovery of the [sic] [failure] to notify and the alternative to ineligibility of entering into a restitution contract will not be available.'' Joe failed to notify anyone as required.  As a result, even though this was Joes first violation of the policy, he was punished by ineligibility for one calendar year.Appellant, Gene Anderegg, raises two issues on this appeal:  (1) that Joe did comply with the duty to notify within seven days of the ''referral'' to Juvenile Court authorities; and (2) that the punishment does not fit the crime. 
  The primary purpose of the notification requirement is to promote honesty in the administration of discipline.  In other words, student self-reporting is a more reliable source of information about drug or alcohol infractions than waiting to receive reports of the infractions from law enforcement officials.  Eligibility decisions can be made more fairly if they are not contingent upon the reports of these other agencies.  The punishment for failing to report is severe, but that is the Districts  way to ensure that students will take their obligation seriously.  If they do, the ability to enter into a restitution contract may virtually negate all of the negative consequences of their conduct. 
  This does not appear to be an unreasonable exercise of the District Boards control of student conduct which is given to them under Iowa Code section 279.8.  Especially when the students are given ample notice of how the policy works, as they were in this case.  In terms of reasonableness, the hearing panel was left wondering why Joseph Anderegg failed to notify the appropriate school personnel about the August 7th incident, even after he had been reminded of this obligation by his friends.  It would have been much easier for him to avoid the consequences of the policy with a phone call to his principal than by an appeal to the State Board of Education.  Unfor-tunately for Joseph, this valuable lesson will not restore his eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities during his senior year in high school.
  That the decision of the Board of Directors of the Charles City Community School District made on November 25, 1996, was affirmed.