D99 Hands Out Year-Long Student Suspensions

"Expelling students is hardest thing we have to do," district superintendent says.

Downers Grove High School Dist. 99 officials did not take lightly expelling three students for the rest of the school year and part of next year.

The school board unanimously approved the expulsions of three students Tuesday night. Two of the students will be removed for the remainder of the current school year, the 2014 term and all of the 2014-15 school year, totaling 14 months, Trib Local reported.

The third student was expelled for the remainder of the current school year and for the first semester of the 2014-15 school year, the paper said.

D99 Superintendent Dr. Mark McDonald confirmed the expulsions to Patch, saying there is nothing worse than expelling a student.

“Expelling kids from school is the hardest thing we have to do,” McDonald said. “Nothing positive comes from it, but sometimes it has to be done.”

McDonald would not comment on the reasons behind the expulsions, or which of the Downers Grove high schools the students attended. Trib Local reported that the students were identified by six-digit numbers.

“That’s privileged information,” he said.  “We don’t have the right to share that information.”

Dist. 99 has expelled six students this year, the paper said. The district has expelled three students each othe last five years, but no more than four.

Dist. 99 board members had already made up their minds to approve the expulsions prior to meeting Monday night, Trib Local said. 

“We don’t have scores of kids getting expelled every year,” McDonald Said. “We have 5,000 kids. Some years we have three, four or five. It’s the nature of things.”

The district does provide an alternative school program called “Project 99,” where students eligible for expulsion work in small groups with an individual teacher.

“A student who might have been expelled in different circumstances can go to the program in the afternoon and do work online,” McDonald said. “It’s not an exact replica of the classroom, but it does enable students to earn credits and come back.”

The program is run by a retired district guidance counselor that meets at Downers Grove North High School.

“If not a danger to other students, they have the option of going into this program,” McDonald said.


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