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Three kicked out of school in Greencastle

January 11, 2001

Three kicked out of school in Greencastle



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The expulsion last week of two Greencastle-Antrim High School students does not indicate there are unusual discipline problems in the three southern Franklin County districts, their superintendents said Wednesday.

Two of the three Greencastle-Antrim students were removed from school and placed in alternative education programs. The third, a special-needs student, will remain on campus but will also be placed in an alternative learning situation.

Student offenses in the three districts range from minor violations of the state of Pennsylvania's zero-tolerance policy concerning weapons on school property to drug and alcohol abuse problems to general behavior problems, the superintendents said.

Two Greencastle-Antrim students violated the school's rules against drugs and alcohol, said Schools Superintendent P. Duff Rearick. Both are sophomores and both came to school under the influence of drugs and alcohol on a day when classes were delayed two hours because of weather, Rearick said.

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A school secretary and an administrator detected the students' conditions, he said.

State law requires school districts to continue a child's education even when they are expelled. Some are placed in alternative education programs like Manito Inc., a program for students with severe discipline problems, schooled at home or placed in alternative programs in their schools.

William Konzal said his district sends some students to Manito. "They have a good comprehensive program," he said. Tuscarora also has the Hope Classroom which helps students redirect their behavior, he said.

The third Greencastle-Antrim High School student, a junior girl, was expelled last week for violating the zero-tolerance rule when she brought numchuks to class. Numchuks is a martial arts weapon consisting of two wooden clubs attached to a center chain.

The student came to school with the weapon in her backpack. It was spotted by another student who reported her, Rearick said. He said the student was "into self-defense." She too was placed in an alternative education program.

Pennsylvania's zero-tolerance weapons policy gives discretionary authority to superintendents who can decide incidents on a case-by-case basis.

"We follow the law, but we customize it for each student," Rearick said.

Last year a Greencastle-Antrim High School student was expelled when a hunting rifle was found in the trunk of his car. The student had gone hunting with his father the previous weekend and had forgotten the weapon was in the trunk. He was expelled to follow the law but was given community service and allowed to stay in school because he was a good student, Rearick said.

Konzal, too, said the zero-tolerance law has to be administered with common sense.

Two students were disciplined in the Waynesboro Area School District last year for violations of the weapons code. Both were expelled for the remainder of the school year but received 10-day suspensions and probation.

In one case the student took a knife to school because he wanted to sharpen it in the shop. In the other a student was seen wearing a metal throwing star, also a martial arts weapon, on a chain around his neck as an ornament.

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