Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in case of Dawn Evette Hoffman, a minor, by her guardians, Ray and Frances Hershey v. Big Spring School District Board of Directors, No. 929 Civil 1984 (Local Agency Appeal).
Frances H. Del Duca, Faller & Del Duca, for appellant.
Dale F. Shughart, Fowler, Addams, Shughart & Rundle, for appellees.
Mark P. Widoff, Widoff, Reager, Selkowitz & Adler, P.C., for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania Associations of Elementary and Secondary School Principals.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 463]
Big Spring School District (School District) appeals from a Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas decision which reversed the decision by the School District's Board of Directors (Board) to expel Dawn Evette Hoffman (Appellee) from Big Spring Middle School for the possession and distribution of a substance prohibited by the School District.
On February 9, 1984, Appellee was charged by the School District for the consumption and distribution
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 464]
of a substance alleged to be "speed,"*fn1 in violation of School District Policy No. 5340.1o. Under this policy, a student could be expelled for the following:
possessing, using, selling, giving, delivering to another person or consuming any narcotic, dangerous drug, marijuana, alcoholic beverage or any pill, capsule, powder, liquid, or other substance of whatever form or texture, which may adversely affect the health, safety, or welfare of any student, including but not limited to stimulants or depressants, prior to or during participation in a school activity.
Following an interview with Appellee conducted by the principal which resulted in a statement written by the principal and signed by the Appellee, an informal hearing was held at the school. Those present at the hearing included the principal, assistant principal, Appellee, Appellee's guardians, Appellee's counsel, a probation officer, and a representative from Children's Services. At the hearing the principal stated that Appellee told him that she had bought five pills from another student named Linda for one dollar because Linda told her these pills would keep her awake; that she sold two pills to another student for thirty-one cents, consumed one pill and threw two pills ...