Second student at Schaghticoke Middle School expelled over Facebook threat

New Milford School Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote.
New Milford School Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote.Michael Duffy

NEW MILFORD -- An eighth-grade girl arrested and suspended over her role in a Facebook threat against a Schaghticoke Middle School administrator has been expelled for the duration of the school year.

The male student who initiated the Facebook correspondence deemed a threat against Assistant Principal Gerald Robinson was expelled last month. Prior to that hearing, the boy was also arrested and suspended.

The Board of Education convened an expulsion hearing for the second student Tuesday afternoon, and the three-member hearing committee voted unanimously to expel the student and provide an alternative tutoring program for the duration of the school year.

Other conditions require she has no unexcused absences and she meets with a school counselor at least once a month. She will be eligible to enroll in the high school next fall.

The girl's mother said she opted to have her expelled because she believes returning her to that school environment is not in her best interest.

The mother said she is dissatisfied with how school officials have responded to complaints about how her daughter has been treated at school.

Neither the parents nor students in this case have been identified because the children are minors.

The mother said Wednesday she does not condone her daughter's behavior, but believes her Facebook comments were made in frustration after officials ignored and demeaned a threatening complaint she made against a different male student who was arrested last month on a breach of peace charge related to their dispute.

The mother also said she has been ignored by officials who refuse to speak with her about the matter.

Schools Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote said she could not comment on the disciplinary action beyond the formal vote taken to expel the girl for the school year.

As for complaints about another student who harassed her, Paddyfote said school privacy laws prohibit discussion of disciplinary issues that relate to any student other than their own child. Each disciplinary issue must be investigated, and consequences are then based on what can be factually ascertained, she said.

The parents of the boy who was expelled earlier last month said they, too, preferred their son be expelled rather than return to the school where they said they felt he had been unfairly targeted as a troublemaker.

The misdemeanor charges against both teenagers have been referred to a local juvenile panel.

Contact Nanci G. Hutson at

nhutson@newstimes.com

or at 860-354-2274.