Butte High student’s expulsion overturned

2013-02-06T00:00:00Z 2013-02-06T09:41:37Z Butte High student’s expulsion overturnedBy Piper Haugan of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
February 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Following an appeal to the county superintendent, a Butte High student’s expulsion has been overturned.

In the 14-page ruling issued Monday afternoon, Silver Bow County Superintendent of Schools Cathy Maloney wrote that Kaedon Caprara was unjustly expelled in October 2012 by the school board after Butte High administrators and police officers discovered marijuana in his car within sight of school, which is a violation of school policy.

A writ of mandate signed by District Judge Brad Newman on Tuesday afternoon allowed Caprara to attend Butte High once again. According to an attached affidavit, Caprara’s father took him to school Tuesday morning to re-enroll him, but he was refused. It makes no mention of whether he’s allowed on sports teams. A hearing on Caprara remaining in school is set for Feb. 14.

Maloney wrote in her ruling that during the appeal hearing on Jan. 25, board members testified that they voted to expel Caprara based on information they’d gained that was not supported by evidence.

In the documents, Caprara wasn’t identified by name because he is a minor. However, his parents’ names are in the document, and well as Caprara’s initials.

The school district’s Superintendent Judy Jonart said the district isn’t at liberty to discuss the matter because it is pending legal action. School officials would not comment on whether Caprara is back in school.

Board chair Ann Boston also told The Standard said she has no comment.

Boston said the board must meet before deciding its next move. She said the earliest a meeting could occur is Friday because the district’s lawyer Pat Fleming will be out of town and because of meeting notice laws.

Maloney said the district has 30 days to appeal. She said if the board appeals the expulsion reversal, the matter would go before state Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau.

Maloney explained that she was simply charged to determine whether the student’s rights were violated when he was expelled.

“You don’t get your feelings into it,” Maloney said. “You just base everything on points of law.”

It’s one of the first times in the county’s history that a case like this has come before the county superintendent, Maloney said last week.

Reporter Piper Haugan: 496-5572, piper.haugan@ mtstandard.com or Twitter.com/Piper_Haugan.

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