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Expulsion for gun rests with board

PETERBOROUGH — The ConVal School Board’s discipline committee will hold a hearing Friday to determine whether the 14-year-old student who brought a loaded gun to the school last week will be expelled.

According to ConVal School Superintendent Brendan Minnihan, the student has been suspended from school. Minnihan said he was not been expelled, as reported last week in the Ledger-Transcript based on an interview with ConVal Principal Brian Pickering.

“There is a hearing to be held, as part of his due process rights, before the Discipline Review Committee,” Minnihan said. “The student has been suspended. He is not in school.”

Police were called to the high school on Oct. 23 after a teacher reported that students had indicated another student had a gun. An administrator and a teacher went to the classroom where the student was and he was asked to stay in the room as classes were changing. Police then entered the classroom, took the gun and placed the student in custody, taking him to the police station.

Under New Hampshire law, the student, who lives in Peterborough, is being treated as a juvenile. He was released to the custody of his parents.

The state statute related to suspension and expulsion, RSA 193:13, has two sections referring to firearms in schools. Section II states that a student may be expelled by the school board “for possession of a pellet or BB gun, rifle, or paint ball gun, and the pupil shall not attend school until restored by the school board.”

Section III states that any student bringing a firearm into a safe school zone without written authorization “shall be expelled from school by the local school board for a period of not less than 12 months.”

The ConVal School District’s policy on dangerous weapons, policy JICI, states that a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school will be expelled for not less than 365 days.

Minnihan said the decision whether to expel the student is in the hands of the School Board. The members of the Discipline Review Committee, which will review the case, are Pierce Rigrod of Hancock, Crista Salamy of Antrim and Matt Craig of Sharon. Minnihan said Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Saunders will be the SAU’s non-voting representative to the committee.

The hearing is expected to be non-public, Minnihan said, although the student’s parents have the option to request a public hearing.

The incident is still under investigation, according to Peterborough police, and no charges have been filed.

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