Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Since When...?

This pretty much speaks for itself (via abc11tv.com, North Carolina ABC affiliate)

(05/08/06 -- APEX) - Wake County school officials have suspended a boy for having sex during school hours.

Ryan Biggar, 16, and his 17-year-old girlfriend had permission to leave Middle Creek High School for an off-campus program. When their event was canceled for the day, they were caught having sex in the girl's home.
It violated school rules, and officials say those rules apply no matter where you are during school hours.

But the Biggar's family is filing a lawsuit against the school system, saying his suspension for the rest of the school year is unconstitutional. He says he had no notice that private, consensual, off-campus sexual activity could subject him to school suspension.

Some students told Eyewitness News that the rules are unclear.

"I think he shouldn't get suspended because he was at his house. What he does at his house should stay at his house," said senior Jajuan Blanton.

A mother disagrees.

"Restrictions say you're on school time, then you are on school time whether you're at lunch or not," said Mary Ann Buesing.

Wake County school spokesman Michael Evans says that having sex during school hours breaks the rules - - even in a private home.

"Whereever you are during school hours. It's a privilege to leave campus for lunch and you sign a form to that effect, as do your parents," Evans said. "So it was with full consent and knowledge that they participate under these rules and if they chose to break them then disciplinary action will come into play."

Court documents include a copy of the lunch permit application, which states that students exercising off-campus lunch privileges are subject to the rules of student conduct, as applicable to the regular school day. Biggar and one of his parents had signed the application.

Biggar is appealing his suspension. A hearing is set for May 15. It is unclear if his girlfriend was suspended, since she is not suing anyone and school records are not public.

Since when does a school have the authority to dictate what goes on in a private home. There is absolutely no excuse for this. No argument or justificiation, no matter how tenuous (and the school's position here is indeed tenuous) can justify this.

And I'm not even hearing this mother's argument about "school time." If, after the event was cancelled the students were still on school time then they should have still been under school supervision. That is, they should have been taken back to class for the rest of the day. The fact that the school did not do this means that the school has effectivly released them and they were not "on school time."

Of course the students may well have ducked out on their own, taking advantage of the fact that their teachers already had them listed as attending the school function that was cancelled and might not miss them. If that's the case then the school would be well within it's rights to punish them for truancy. However, if they were truant then that would mean that they were still outside of school custoday. Because they chose to leave the scope of school custody in violation of the rules does not change the fact that they were still outside of school custody.

And no matter what, the school's authority does not extend to the inside of someone's private residence ever!

If Mrs. Buesing wants to surrender her rights as a citizen and a mother to school administration, I guess that's her business. Hopefully the rest of the parents with kids in this school have more sense but I'm not holding my breath.

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