Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Stanley C. Abremski and Marlene Abremski, his wife, and Stanley Abremski, Jr., Chris Abremski and Johnny Abremski, minors, by Stanley Abremski, Sr., their guardian v. Southeastern School District, Luther Sowers, Superintendent, Nicholas Corbo, Principal, Kennard-Dale High School, A Richard Erisman, Principal, S.E. Middle School, No. 79-S-395.
Edward G. Puleo, with him Edward B. Golla, for appellants.
Frank B. Boyle, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
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This appeal is by two students, Stanley Abremski, Jr., and Christopher Abremski, by their guardian, Stanley C. Abremski (appellants) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County which upheld the decision of the Southeastern School District Board of Directors (Board) to expel Stanley and Christopher for a period of time from February 21, 1978 to March 30, 1978 because they had been smoking marijuana on a school bus while enroute from the school to their home. We affirm.
On January 29, 1979, the appellants and another student were observed smoking on the school bus. The next evening they were detained after school at the office of the principal of the Kennard-Dale High School, which is a part of the Southeastern School District.
[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 294]
Conflicting accounts of this detention have been set forth in the briefs, but the record is barren of evidence on this aspect of the matter. Both sides agree, however, that after about two hours it was determined that the appellants had been smoking marijuana on the school bus, and they were suspended from school for a period of ten days. Before this suspension had been fulfilled, the appellants were reinstated pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing before the Board. A disciplinary committee of the Board met on February 13, 1978 to take evidence, and at least thirteen witnesses were present. Without examining any of the witnesses, the appellants voluntarily admitted their involvement in the marijuana-smoking incident.
The disciplinary committee recommended that the appellants be expelled from school and given the opportunity to apply for readmission at the start of the next grading period (March 31, 1978). School officials immediately imposed the sanction, but after two days the appellants were again reinstated pending action by the full Board. On February 21, 1978, the Board ratified and implemented the recommendations of the disciplinary committee. The appellants were expelled for the balance of the grading period, and the school administration made arrangements for the appellants to engage in home study during the term of the expulsion, with a weekly counseling session of one and one-half hours to take place on school grounds. The expulsion was appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of York County, which upheld the action of the Board.
The appellants are contending that (1) they were denied due process under the United States Constitution; (2) the Board's action was not authorized by the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 1-101 et seq.; (3) the penalty was inappropriate for the conduct involved; and (4) the alternate education provided during the
[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 295]
expulsion period was insufficient. None of these ...