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Department of Education

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Appeal Decisions

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If you have questions contact Nicole Proesch, legal counsel for the Department and the State Board,
at 515-281-8661 or
BOOK: 26 
MONTH-YEAR: January - 2011
IN RE: Ian G.
APPELLEE: Cedar Falls Community School District
KEYWORDS: Discipline, suspension, expulsion, drugs
DETAILS: Ms. K. seeks reversal of the decision of the local board of directors of the Cedar Falls School District to suspend Ian from Holmes Junior High School for the first semester of the 2010-11 school year.
  At the time of Ians alleged misconduct, he was nearing completion of the 7th grade at Holmes Junior High School, the sole junior high attendance center of the Cedar Falls Community School District.  Ian was found to have violated the Districts policy prohibiting ''[p]ossession, use or distribution of a controlled substance or controlled substance look alike.''  Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under Iowa Code section 124.204.
  The facts are in dispute.  The local board found that Ian participated in a marijuana transaction with another student [''Pete''] in a school restroom the morning of June 8, 2010, a day when classes were still in session.  Ian admits that he used this particular restroom at the time in question, but he denied seeing Pete in the restroom and denied being in possession of marijuana.
  However, the local board found Ians denial not to be credible, and affirmatively found that a ''preponderance of the evidence supports the position of the administration that [Ian] was in possession of drugs at Holmes Junior High School on the morning of June 8, 2010, and that he was involved in a drug transaction with [Pete] in the Math Wing mens restroom at that time.''  [Findings and Decision of Cedar Falls Community School District Board of Directors, August 9, 2010.]
  The State Board does not sit as a ''super school board.''  The local school board is in the best position, and has authority to, weigh the evidence before it and determine the credibility of witnesses.  There is nothing by which the State Board can overturn the decision made by the local school board in this case.
OUTCOMES: The decision of the Board of Directors of the Cedar Falls Community School District made on August 9, 2010 and reaffirmed by that board on August 23, 2010, suspending Ian from the District for the first semester of the 2010-2011 school year is AFFIRMED.