Difference in school punishments based on policy - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Difference in school punishments based on policy

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Last Friday we brought you the story of a J.I. Watson fifth grader who was scared to go back to school after a classmate showed her an airsoft gun. That student was suspended for two days as punishment.

But this Friday, a different family from S.J. Welsh says their child also brought an airsoft gun to school, except he was expelled. Why the difference in punishment?

"I brought an airsoft gun to school to see if my friend had a thing to make it shoot, which is CO2," said Aveory Ramirez. "It wasn't intentionally to harm or shoot anybody."

But as a result, former 8th grade S.J. Welsh student, Aveory Ramirez says he was arrested, sent to juvenile detention and expelled. He's now taking online classes and seeing a probation officer monthly.

His father says it was case closed, until last Friday, "When I saw the story that you guys played last Friday night my immediate reaction was anger because I was read a zero tolerance policy by Keith Lala and all the staff that he has working over there that pertains to all students in the Calcasieu Parish school systems."

The Ramirez family feels the situation at both schools were similar but the students punishments, very different.

"It just didn't make any sense to me and I wanted some answers," explained Aveory's father.

Why the difference in punishment?

Although the school board couldn't give KPLC specifics on the case they did say the investigation was completed and protocols followed.

Superintendent of Calcasieu Parish Schools, Wayne Savoy, says, "in our policy we do have something called limited exception. The decision as it relates to what happens comes from the investigation surrounding an incident. With that limited exception policy, the principal can determine exactly which recommendation needs to be made."

That means punishments can be different depending on the school's principal. And the Ramirez family isn't satisfied.

"It's some kind of problem within this school system that two of the same incidents and 2 completely different treatments, and punishments for both of these kids," said Aveory's father.

Savoy did say the superintendent has the final say on a disciplinary action if there's a disagreement. However, he also said he trusts their principals.

Story from Aug. 30, 2013: http://www.kplctv.com/story/23305727/student-brings-airsoft-gun-to-school

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