Brad Meeks: Statement on district policy

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Editor’s note: This is a statement written by Superintendent Brad Meeks and read to the Steamboat Springs School Board during Monday night’s board meeting. 

A recent story in the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a few blog comments and a letter to the editor last week may have created some confusion about the school district’s practices in student discipline matters. There are certain procedures and requirements that we follow in all cases. The district does not discuss student disciplinary matters in a public format due to privacy laws, but a brief description should help clarify any misperceptions about the district’s discipline process.

Upon the report or suspicion of a violation of the school district’s policies, the administration is allowed to investigate the conduct, which may include interviewing students and conducting a search of their belongings or vehicles. These interviews and searches are strictly performed in accordance with School District policies.

Once the administration determines that a violation of school district policies has occurred, the school will contact the student’s parents, notify the parents and student of the violation that has occurred and suspend the student. Pending the decision to expel, a student will be suspended. Whenever a student is suspended, the school administration makes arrangements with teachers to be sure the student has an opportunity to obtain, continue and complete their schoolwork. If the student completes the work, it can be turned in for credit.

The school administration may also recommend expulsion of up to one calendar year if the conduct merits it. School District policies provide when expulsion, either for a semester or for a full calendar year, is appropriate discipline for certain conduct.

Each decision to expel is evaluated based on the particular student and the conduct involved. As part of the school district’s discipline process, prior to making the decision to expel, options are discussed with the parent and student. Even in cases where expulsion is merited, the school district will work with students and parents to attempt to identify a reasonable solution that supports the district’s discipline policies, ensures the safety and welfare of the other students and staff, and meets the needs of the particular student.

A student may decline to accept the proposed compromise in favor of pursuing a hearing instead. This is the student’s choice. In every case, the school district follows its policies and procedures, which are designed to ensure the safety of the entire school community.

As mentioned, the student always has the option to request a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether the student should be expelled. If the student requests a hearing and is represented by legal counsel, then the School District must use its attorney to represent the administration at the hearing. An independent hearing officer may oversee the hearing, make findings of fact and recommend what discipline should be imposed.

If the hearing officer recommends a “suspension through the remainder of the school year,” and there are more than 25 days remaining in the semester, this is equivalent to expulsion for the remainder of the school year because the school district cannot suspend for longer than 25 days, according to Colorado state statute.

Once a decision to expel is made following a hearing, the expulsion takes effect immediately. For the period that a student is expelled, the school district is obligated to and always does provide students with an alternative educational program specifically designed to allow the student the opportunity to complete coursework that qualifies for credits toward graduation. If the student successfully completes the coursework, credits are earned, and in the case of a senior, the student can graduate. Students in lower grade levels return to school at the end of the expulsion period.

It is my hope that this clarification will help all parents and students understand not only the importance of having solid student discipline policies and procedures but also having confidence that teachers, administrators and staff apply them in a deliberate, careful and even-handed manner.

Comments

Zoey Costin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The suspension was already up to 54 days. She was expelled January 29th and was suspended until March 24th, the day of the appeal. Even when Meeks decided to expel her on March 7th, she had still been suspended for 37 days. So the "school district cannot suspend for longer than 25 days, according to Colorado state statute" was obviously already violated. Weak excuse to ruin someones life Meeks, and you still had the choice NOT to expel her. This was just a power trip for you against a 17 year old of the National Honors Society, a second semester senior with 3.8 GPA, taking AP Calculus hoping to get into Dartmouth or CU. Yeah you won, but you expelled the wrong person.

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Bottom line: 6 grams, first offense, and she was expelled?? I don't think the district even realized until after all this that they had a policy prohibiting suspension for longer than 25 days. Why did it take so long to give her a hearing? Gotta wonder what kind of "compromise" was offered...must have been pretty bad. Also, if you're expelled, you don't graduate from that school. Where will she graduate from?

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I respect that Mr. Meeks attempts to respond to the concerns of the community regarding this matter with a public statement.

However, any attempt to blame the student for not accepting some unknown 'compromise' while Mr. Meeks personally put aside the administrative Judges recommendation and imposed expulsion is a poor explanation and makes the Expulsion Hearing appear to have been a fraud.

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr. Meeks may be suggesting that because 25 days is the maximum legal suspension, any suspension beyond 25 days must, by law, be converted to an expulsion. Of course, this would have been avoided by an original punishment of a suspension of less than 25 days.

It would be helpful to know what compromise the student was offered to get a better sense of the schools initial response.

Also, why would an administrative Judge offer a recommendation that couldn't be accepted by the School Board under Colorado law?

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Pat West 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I think this is the case. Anyway, the main issue of this case is the determination that she was dealing. Dealing = expulsion. Like others have posted, if it was a cut and dry charge, like gun possession, we wouldn't question that expulsion was the required, but do to a judgement based on evidence we will never know, we are left with questions.

As I said before, this is a small bump in the road, I knew fellow students that were criminally charged dealing in high school, when weed was illegal, and justice in Oklahoma was mercy less. Those friends put their high school misdeed behind them, and became successful adults despite the felony charges they received for dealing weed in my high school. They did not let felony convictions stop them in adulthood and this expulsion will not stop this student unless she lets it.

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rhys jones 3 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no proof she was dealing. She claims she bought them packaged in that fashion, not an unreasonable claim. No proof was offered to the contrary. Routt County decided not to pursue the matter. The hearing officer -- an actual attorney -- recommended a more lenient punishment. Meeks went on his own in assigning and levying the harsher sentence.

Sure, felonies and expulsions can be overcome -- but they are serious hindrances to professional advancement, precluding many opportunities. It's an uphill climb from there.

The cop who busted me actually apologized, on the way to jail, said he was just doing his job, and I understood. Ditto the Judge, prosecutor, jailers -- virtually everybody. Each apologized at some point. They all had no choice.

Meeks had a choice, and he exercised it to ruin a life, or severely cripple it. Not good karma, and I hope it comes back on him.

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Pat West 3 months, 3 weeks ago

No proof that we know of, because the school officials cannot talk about this case. For all the speculation to the contrary, for all we know they had evidence from other students that she was in fact dealing. She could have avoided this by not allowing them to search her car, walking to school after getting banned from driving would have been a smarter choice than even the suspension she should have known was coming if they found her stash. Ask ex-sheriff Wall about how to avoid allowing evidence of a crime to come into play.

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rhys jones 3 months, 3 weeks ago

PS -- To any local cops, legal pundits, or historians:

I refer not to any incident which occurred in Routt County, nor within the last fifteen years. :)

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Pat West 3 months, 3 weeks ago

"Ruined life" is such a hard term to use for someone that hasn't even begun their adult life. High school may be the pinnacle of a child life, but it is not a deciding factor for adult life unless you allow it to be. And this letter seems to say that by the time of the hearing, she had already been out of school longer than suspension allowed, so Meeks may have had not choice, he certainly didn't have the choice to accept the ruling, the rules specifically say a student can't be suspended that long. Reading this statement, I think its a far stretch to say Meeks was acting maliciously with his judgement. Sounds like he was trapped by procedure, and forced to enforce the sentencing rules.

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rhys jones 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Pardon my lapse of civic knowledge, but Meeks has an elected position, no? If so, two words come to mind: LAME DUCK. I'll bet that student can beat the old codger in ANY test of math skills. The redneck had best dust off his resume.

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Krista Monger 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Superintendent is NOT an elected position. Board appointed.

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The school board could still make this right, why aren't they? Why have a school board at all if they just rubber stamp the superintendent? Where is a statement from the school board?

This looks like a case of 'how dare you hire a lawyer, how dare you question our authority? I'm now going to squash you like a bug.'

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

It appears the School Board tied their own hands by letting the 25 days of suspension pass and now Colorado law requires the expulsion. Maybe they slow-walked the hearing intentionally so they could expel her regardless of the outcome and recommendation of the Judge.

If the law allows a hearing to be requested, shouldn't the hearing be held within the 25-day suspension period? If not, then what was the point of the hearing if the outcome was per-determined by Colorado law?

Did the young lady's council not understand, prior to the hearing, that the result of the hearing would be moot after such an extensive suspension?

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Scott Wedel 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Usually time limits stop once a legal action is filed.

Looks like Colorado law considers any suspension longer than 25 days to require an expulsion process.

But this situation further demonstrates the process was a complete disaster in this case. The hearing officer's decision is one that the school district says it cannot follow.

The history of drug dealing has the dealer buying a larger amount and repacking into small amounts for selling. Thus, ownership of little bags of drugs is legally considered as evidence of dealing. But that presumption has been turned on its head by the legal sale of mj in little bags and multiple varieties each in a bag. So now owning a handful of little mj bags in small amounts also indicates sampling different varieties.

I think the basic problem with this case is that it treated mj not like alcohol, but lie heroin, crack or meth. The voters of Colorado passed a mj legalization law that stated mj should be treated like alcohol. If a student's car is found to have a six pack of beer or a bottle of vodka then would we expect that leads to expulsion?

Btw, a hunting rifle in a locked trunk in a car in the school's parking lot is most clearly also grounds for expulsion.

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Brad Meeks, superintendent, salary over $175,000, he is a school district employee. That is public information. Also all administrators including him got huge raises (average 30%) over the last two years; teachers got minimal raises.

The starting salary for a teacher is $35,204. In other words, you could get 5 new teachers for 1 Brad Meeks.

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Harvey Lyon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry Folks! Drugs, including MJ, messes up adolescent's minds. It destroys their ability to understand complex concepts and math. This is a proven fact!

I don't want drugs associated with school and I certainly don't want drugs being sold on school property.

I trust my elected RE-2 School Board and Dr Meeks to make the correct decisions on issues like this and I trust that they have given full consideration to all the issues.

If you guys feel differently then I suggest you run for the School Board next time around. Put your money where your mouth is so to speak!

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rhys jones 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry Harvey, but you're WRONG. "destroys their ability" my @$$. State your proof. I (or somebody who cares) can find ten credible citations to the contrary.

I can only speak from experience. While I had above-average math aptitudes in high school, I was having trouble with computer logic, at the rate the Marines (Navy) were shooting it at me. One day, while doing my homework, a friend of a friend insisted I get high with him, second friend being gone, and I required some convincing, not wanting to lose the variable values in my head, only reluctantly agreeing when I accepted having to start over at square one in my debugging... a while later, when friend's friend (now mine too) departed and I returned to the errant program -- not only did I recall the current values of all the relevant variables -- but I UNDERSTOOD it, for the first time ever, as if a light just came on.

I have used it on THOUSANDS of occasions since then, to assist finding a particularly elusive bug, or design a complex new database, or do things rarely, if ever, done before. Try to get Google Charts to show you a negative number, and get back with me on that. I did it. I believe a version of my original code is still used by Steamboat for their Breakaway packages, and Grey Line for bus tickets. I won't tell you the wrenches those threw at me. You can guess how I compensated. I won't drag my own endeavor of 20+ years into this; it has yet to succeed in any big way. But it works.

This student had a 3.8 GPA including calculus. That hardly supports your theory. Worldwide, America is falling behind in education levels, and you agree to burn this bright young talent at the stake. We ARE in trouble.

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Wow, they removed my comment? I guess someone didn't like the poem. I was just making the point that political apathy has a cost. And when people see something wrong it's important to speak up. And although I agree that drugs and alcohol can mess up an adolescent brain, I do NOT trust Mr. Meeks and the board "to make the correct decisions on issues like this" or "that they have given full consideration to all the issues."

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Scott Wedel 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Harvey,

The evidence of selling was limited to there being 6 one gram bags of pot.

There is plenty of evidence available showing that punishing her will have no impact upon other student's ability to get pot. Expulsion provides no protection or layer of safety for other students. Something inside a car in the parking lot shouldn't be considered the same as bringing it into the school building or classroom.

It would be interesting to search every car, including those owned by staff, parked on school grounds one day and see how many violations of school policy are found. A lowly steak knife would also be grounds for expulsion.

Or the school district could remove their blinders and see how many students were out drinking this weekend and expel all of them.

I would have had no problems with a 5 or 10 day suspension. I just don't see the facts in this case of how this was such a threat to other students or staff to warrant expulsion. This is more like those periodic situations where a kid is expelled for pointing a finger at someone and acting like shooting it.

Overall, it seems to me that the lesson in this expulsion is that now an arbitrary and capricious expulsion is real danger to a SSSD student's education.

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jerry carlton 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Close the drawbridge at the school admin offices. The village folk are outside with pitchforks and torches. I agree school administration makes way too much money just like administrators in all fields of work. Still have not seen any of you posters announce your candidacy for school board?

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rhys jones 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why bother? Their opinion doesn't matter anyway.

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Mr. Weeks apparently received $88,000 in severance pay from his previous district (Farmington, MN) and resigned with a year remaining on his contract. While the previous district did not release a cause for the early resignation arrangement, published terms of the agreement included the provision that he "will never work for the district again."

Read about Mr. Meeks' early separation in the Minneapolis StarTribune here:
http://www.startribune.com/local/south/117207593.html

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john bailey 3 months, 2 weeks ago

sounds similar to a certain city manager......hey , look , a new hula.....

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jerry carlton 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Remember any of our previous superintendents in the past 16 years? They are basically a politician. At least this guy has some guts to try and keep pot out of the high school. Enough said.

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This idea that Meeks had no choice but to expel her because she'd been suspended for more than 25 days makes no sense. So they screwed up and suspended her for longer than 25 days, making her wait a long time for the expulsion hearing, then they say "oh yeah, because it's been over 25 days we have no choice, have to expel you. But let's have this 12 hour hearing first just for fun that will cost us thousands of dollars." Right. And if they don't expel, then what? Someone comes along and sues them for not expelling her when the administration are the ones who screwed up the process?

Pat - Whatever evidence they had that she was selling, it obviously wasn't enough. The original article said the DA did not file charges. I think Meeks decided that she selling and in the little world of the school district where Meeks is king, that was all that was required. No proof.

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jerry carlton 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe you can take her into your home and give her some moral guidance that she seems to be lacking?

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Mark Rueff 3 months, 2 weeks ago

All the stories published in the SBP have received many more positive comments against Mr Meeks and the school board than for - I would estimate 10 or 12 to 1 (for vs against). It's time to stop writing and take action. We should organize and show our support in person at the next school board meeting or another organized event. 4/20 is right around the corner. What an ironic statement. We could get more attention on them and their decisions in this course of action. Thoughts?

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Good idea and the school district website (http://www.sssd.k12.co.us/) says the next meeting is on April 14 at 5:30...where? Unfortunately, people with kids at the high school may be hesitant to speak out because of a reasonable fear (given recent events) of repercussions or targeting. Others who are in town that date should show up!

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mark hartless 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I think my comment5s about you witch-hunters was somewhere along in here. But it got white-washed by the "free speech" supporters...

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Pat West 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Liz, the standard for evidence for criminal charges may be far different than for expulsion.

Everything posted on this forum is speculation, and should not be taken as fact unless backed up with evidence, and printed by the paper. I trust nothing I read here as fact, only opinion.

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Jim Kelley 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat, not everything posted about this story is just speculation. We may not know all of the details of this case or this girl but the general story represented by the Pilot and the letter from Mr Meek does reflect a basic layout of the"facts", if not the specific details.

These appear to be Facts based on what I have read here:

  1. A senior honor student, three months away from finishing her stellar pre-college academic career (thirteen years!), has been expelled under dubious circumstances.
  2. The premise for doing so was based on out-dated and flawed assumptions. ( that 6 grams of mj. packaged in separate containers = intent to sell)---and the fact that she challenged this assumption. 3.The process that the district used and Mr Meek is trying to defend is obviously flawed (past 25 days suspension=expulsion and since she was already there, well expelled!).
  3. An adult with authority (Mr. Meek) has shown everyone that he is The Man and if you challenge him, you will lose.
  4. Steamboat Springs is not Oklahoma

My Opinions based on these facts: -Kicking a student out of school within months of graduating because she challenged dubious allegations is Bullying, pure and simple. -The fact that he tried (lamely) to justify his actions is revealing. I believe he has not served the students or this community well and the school board should review this whole debacle immediately and return this girl to school before graduation, period. -Just like his last job, Mr Meek should be relieved of his job here and made to promise that he will never work for this school district again!

----Happy spring biking Pat!

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat, Mr. Meeks negotiated an early retirement from his previous district and was payed $88,000 to leave early. It's also one of the terms of the agreement that Mr. Meeks could never work for the district again. Don't believe me, read it from his previous district's newspaper:

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/117207593.html

"The deal also specifies that "there is no ongoing or completed investigation of any complaint about Meeks" in the district."

So, as part the deal of his previous early separation, there are no investigations "ongoing" and no investigation had been "completed." That statement suggests that there was an investigation involving a complaint of Mr. Meeks that was stopped as part of his early retirement agreement; thus any investigation of a complaint against him was described as not "ongoing" or "completed."

Thoughts?

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yup, Rhys. It's hard to believe we got the guy that a previous district paid $88K to go away.

Makes you wonder about the vetting process for school superintendent. They should make the test harder.

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Pat West 3 months, 2 weeks ago

My thoughts are that online speculation about Mr. Meeks and his decision making process cannot be fair as he cannot respond, give the evidence that could support his decision and thus given due process. I trust the people I elect to the school Board, and continued second guessing their decisions without all the evidence is not fair to the School Board, or Mr. Meeks.

Suggestions of a investigation are just more speculation. For all we know he was wrongly accused of a unfair decision that was in fact justifiable but due to confidentiality limits he could not explain his reasoning. Sound familiar?

From the story; "It's unclear exactly what prompted the deal, but news of Meeks' impending departure comes less than two months after the swearing-in of three board members who were critical of district leadership in their campaigns.

Weeks before they took office, the previous board censured Tim Burke, a board member who has been at loggerheads with the superintendent for years. Burke's alleged offenses included persistent attempts to undermine Meeks' credibility, as well as the illegal disclosure of personnel data and information from closed meetings."

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat, They paid him $88,000 to leave early with the condition he could never come back.

Candidates for his previous school board ran on a platform of new leadership. They were elected and he immediately negotiated an early resignation. As-in, the very first Board of Education meeting the new members attended resulted in his early separation. The local voters elected board members that removed him from a position of authority as a first-order-of-business.

We're stuck with him now for a while. I wonder how much more of his poor professional judgment will be experienced by our community and how much we'll have to pay him to leave early?

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat, the standard of evidence for expulsion should be pretty high, don't you think? Taking education away, taking graduation from her high school away, should be the very last resort, especially on a first offense. There is a thing called restorative justice that is supposed to be followed. We may not have all the details, but it seems pretty clear that there was no definitive proof of her selling mj at school. Even if she was selling somewhere, does that mean automatic expulsion? Not according to Mr. Meeks. From the first article:

"Bursek and Davidson contend the student was not selling marijuana, and she should have been suspended for five days, which they said is standard punishment for a student caught with marijuana. Meeks, who spoke generally about the school’s policies, said there is no set punishment outlined in the policies.

“It’s one of those things that you have to look at case by case,” Meeks said."

. I'm not saying the school board members (or even Meeks) don't have good intentions. I'm saying they need to take more time and look at this again. As elected officials, the board should pay attention to what voters have to say. The law now says pot is as illegal as alcohol for minors but that is not the way this case has being handled. Some of what's on this blog may be speculation but that's ok. I'd say some very relevant points have been made here. I'm not for blindly giving power to an authority who may be screwing up.

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Scott Wedel 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Liz,

I think the standard for expulsion should be primarily on protecting other students and staff. So a violent student can be expelled even if the evidence isn't enough to prosecute.

It is the normal criteria of the expelled student being a danger to others and that standard being applied consistently that is missing in this case. If the standard is to be possibly providing access to an illegal substance then SSSD also needs to expel every other student giving other students a cigarette or drink or joint. Then SSSD should request from local law enforcement all such incidents involving their students so they can be expelled.

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Jim Kelley 3 months, 2 weeks ago

What if the biggest threat to our students happens to be the superintendent? ----Or an idle school board?

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

At an absolute minimum the School Board should immediately implement a policy that all expulsion hearings must conclude before the 25th day of suspension or the expulsion is automatically converted to a 24 day suspension. Otherwise, the entire SS School Board is complicit in perpetuating a scheme that renders potential future hearings moot.

The Board needs to step-up and explain what has been learned from this and what changes are being made to prevent a repeat of this chaos. People deserve the confidence that the School Board will accept responsibility for oversight of the Superintendent and the policies of the schools in general.

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

That's a childish retort and a reckless assumption. I don't think it's necessary to run for a local office to make a positive difference in the community and I'm not a 'pro pot stoner' or any other kind of 'stoner.'

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Chris Hadlock 3 months, 2 weeks ago

This has nothing to do with approving of MJ use. It has everything to do with a 17 year old girl that made a huge mistake. The questions revolve around what an appropriate response should be given the circumstances.

How many of us would want our 17 year old child barred from ever graduating High School for making a mistake of similar nature. I am sure that there are many parents in this community that have dealt with similar issues without Mr Meeks ever being involved. I would be equally sure that none of those parents approve of the MJ use and would further surmise that most of those children went on to become productive adults.

I personally sent Mr. Meeks an email discussing my feelings on the matter and have yet to receive any acknowledgement at all that he even received my correspondence. Yes, I believe he is power hungry, violated the trust placed in him by the community and needs to be removed. The sooner the better at this point.

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Jerry - What does the legitimacy of an expulsion hearing have to do with mj laws?

The school board apparently couldn't legally accept the recommendation of the Administrative Judge who conducted the appeal hearing. What was the point of the 12- hour appeal hearing, then? Apparently, it was to pretend there was some reasonable process for appeal of an expulsion. I think the Board should act quickly to assure the community that punishment isn't doled out in a capricious manner with a kabuki theater appeal process.

This perspective is completely independent of this particular student's situation and speaks directly to the credibility of the school system's appeal process.

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Ken Mauldin 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks for that clarification, Zoey.

So, the Administrative Judge's recommendation (that she remain suspended longer than 25 days) was, under Colorado law the equivalent of an expulsion?

The Pilot originally reported that Meeks put the Judges recommendation aside and unilaterally imposed expulsion. "Meeks did not adopt James’ recommendation and chose to expel the student."

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2014/mar/30/steamboat-springs-school-board-denies-expulsion-ap/

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Liz Cecil 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I'll bet good money that none of them (Meeks, judge, principal, board) had any clue about the 25 day limit until extremely recently. Meeks tries to make it sound so well-managed, I don't buy it. Otherwise the judge never would have made that recommendation. She clearly was not advising expulsion - and even if suspended until the end of the year, the student could have completed courses online and graduated from SSHS. With expulsion, she can get a diploma somehow but it won't be from SSHS.

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Scott Wedel 3 months, 2 weeks ago

So, the Administrative Judge's recommendation (that she remain suspended longer than 25 days) was, under Colorado law the equivalent of an expulsion?

Not really. The law is written to protect a student from endlessly being suspended by a principal or school district. And thus, the law requires an expulsion hearing if the punishment is to exceed a 25 day suspension as a means for the student to appeal and get back into school.

I don't where the expulsion hearing officer is prohibited from considering an additional suspension instead of expulsion. Since the expulsion hearing did occur then it would seem to allow for an additional suspension as long as it was less than a year (max duration for an expulsion).

And any legal doubt about an additional suspension could easily have been agreed to be allowed to remain undecided. School district could have accepted the hearing officer's recommendation for the additional suspension. Only if the student went to court trying to get the suspension overturned as being more than 25 days then the school district could respond by expelling her and making the case moot.

I trust the hearing officer's, a former judge, interpretation of the law allowing for an additional suspension over the Superintendent's interpretation.

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mark hartless 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Most of you people don't give a tinkers dam about arbitrary and capricious actions! You have happily elected people who DAILY hand down arbitrary and capricious rulings.

You rise NOT in defense of conduct that is honorable, for those you willfully empower know no such thing as honor.

You do not defend justifiable actions. This persons actions are no more justifiable than others whom you defend and empower; her actions are no more excuseable than the criminals you have elected to do your bidding in Mordor on the Potomac.

Instead, I believe most of you rise only reflexively...simply in defense of conduct which your conscience reminds you is all too SIMILAR to your own! Defending this inexcusable act assuages your own guilty conscience.

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Kevin Nerney 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Well we paid Howell $270,000 to go away how much is it going to cost us for Meeks to follow in her footsteps? And I'll ask again how and when can I get a job that pays me a ton of money to leave,any employers want to step up and hire me?

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Deana Damiano 3 months, 2 weeks ago

I only add my raw personal side... I appreciate the powerful suggestions to make this world a better place.

3/21/14 Mr. Meeks & the School Board

I hope that you can make the time for me after the hearing on Monday to discuss the many questions and concerns. I am concerned with the remiss of communication from you and Mr. Taulman, officially as well as after I cried and begged after being notified by the school counselor. But let's not lose the focus of the expulsion. She has three college applications pending & needs to complete 6 classes in 2 months after being removed from school 51 days ago.

One of my questions that went unanswered was how much to pay for the 12-hr recording into a transcript? There were many powerful statements from Mary Lynne James, the outside hearing officer, Mr. Bursek & Davidson, Attorneys for my daughter, beyond the statement of facts. Did you listen to the 12hrs before your diminutive decision without explanation for my daughter’s expulsion. I hope the School Board has the ingenuity to fix the school-system without breaking the school-girl.

...hoping for compassion. I told Mr. Taulman that I worked for VNA as a Advocate for Children with Special Care Needs for 5 years before nursing school. This is where I learned to empower many struggling parents to seek out available resources & opportunities.

When I first heard of her offense, it was described as a "small" amount of mj, 1/29/14. In the Statement of fact, 3/4/14, it is described as a "large" amount. This is a FIRST: (My daughter, Mr. Taulman, Mr. Alt, Mr. Hensen, Mr. Meeks) with this kind of situation. No matter how we look at it, this first time in this small town, it is a big deal. No pun intended.

I'm scared for my daughter, how can she be so stupid? I can only hope that by integrating my daughter back into classes could be an example that could benefit in so many ways. She will continue to suffer despite any outcome. I am confident that Mr. Taulman can find a way to incorporate trust so that she can complete the last two months at SSHS with her peers and Lacrosse team. She has been feeling defeated, but trying to study for her requirements, proactively taking drug tests and has started intensive private counseling, participating in her diversion program, continues with her counseling, but also isolated in Hayden with her aunt and uncle.

I beg of you to try to be creative in this situation. She will have to work hard to even graduate at all. How devastating to lose her future from this mistake. I am willing to commit to research opportunities to help combat the drug issues for the children in Steamboat as well as hope to promote a system of educating children of the dangers and consequences of mj.

I appreciate your dedication to the children & their future. Thanks for taking the time to hear from the parent. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for the success of children & community.

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Deana Damiano 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Had to slim down my letter to under 3000 characters...There was also an attachment from 2008 when the community was stating the characteristics looking for a Superintendent. This was from 2/6/2008 in the Steamboat Pilot and Today.

According to the superintendent application packet, the ideal candidate will promote a culture of excellence; focus on students and maintain a high expectation of achievement of 21st-century skills; value community, staff and parent input; and support technology's role in education.

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Deana Damiano 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Email from 2/19/14

Dear Mr. Meeks, I have been waiting patiently for you to make a decision about my daughter, get back into school immediately.

I feel that you are setting her up for failure.

How can you show me that you are doing all that you can to give my daughter an education?

Please call me as soon as possible.

I am taking a flight tonight and will be in Steamboat on Friday. I would love to meet with you personally. Should I bring my lawyer?

I am currently in Hawaii working as an R.N. I came to Hawaii in July 2013 for a nursing job. I was intending to return by Oct or Dec. 2013

I have lived in Steamboat for over 21 years and call Steamboat home. The community is my family and have helped me raise my children with solid integrity and strong values. I had moved to Grand Junction in 2011 for work and away from a hostile environment from my divorce. My ex-husband has little to no contact with her, who still lives in Steamboat.

School has been the only constant in her life. It is the only thing she can control. It is the only thing that makes her believe in herself. She has maintained all A's & B's, with a 3.8 average despite her many setbacks. She has applications out to CU, DU and Dartmouth (her grandfather's alma mater). She is involved in Lacrosse which has also been one of her only solid avenues for support and encouragement.

She has endured a hateful divorce and rejection from her father since she was eight. She has had three heart surgeries from 10 months old to age thirteen. She struggles socially as she is immature , young and small for her class. I was encouraged to start her in school at a young age as recommended by John Devincentis, back in the day.

She is currently in counseling with Shelby DeWolf and Jen Trimurti. Shelby stating her extensive need for guidance and treatment, issues of depression, maladaptive coping patterns, black and white thinking and unrealistic expectations of herself, overwhelmed, feelings of hopelessness, desperation, need for more family support, unresolved conflict with parents which make her feel more isolated and overwhelmed.

I am pleading for mercy that she can learn from the consequences without taking away her education. She has independently taken a drug test and has an appointment psychiatric evaluation recommended by our PCP from YVMA

I plead to let her finish high school with all the pressures and consequences that she will learn from this incident and hope she can endure her focus and remain true to herself and her goal to graduate high school, attend a college university and to lead a respectful honest life. We all need to believe in our children. Please don't give up on her. I believe in her and I want you to give her a chance to show you that she will not let you down. She has the ability to overcome adversity and make us all proud. I beg for your compassion, humanity and benevolence.

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