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Hernando School Board expels three

(ran PW edition of PT)

A Springstead High School student who took a BB gun to campus and a West Hernando Middle School student who threw a piece of an orange at a teacher were among three students expelled Tuesday night by the School Board.

All of the expulsions, including a second pupil from West Hernando who intentionally ran into a teacher, were for the remainder of the school year. The names of the students are not being published because of their ages.

Tuesday's action marked the third consecutive School Board meeting in which students have been expelled. The total number of students expelled from this school year was not available Wednesday.

Many of the students have been accepted into the Project Rebound program on the Springstead West campus. In the program, students are taught in a strictly supervised setting.

Willie Stephens, supervisor of middle schools for the district, said the recent number of expulsions disturbs him, but, he said, they are necessary.

"I think it worries me when any child is denied an education. But by the same token, while it hurts us, it's necessary for the greater good of the other students," Stephens said. "We are sending a message that we will not tolerate this type of behavior."

The first of the most recent offenses took place Feb. 8, when the 14-year-old Springstead student took the BB gun in his book bag to the school's ninth-grade center on Deltona Boulevard.

When school officials confronted the boy about the gun, he told them he bought the weapon at a Wal-Mart for a friend, district records show. He said he was supposed to deliver the gun to his friend that afternoon. The boy was arrested by sheriff's deputies and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

The next day, at West Hernando, a 13-year-old threw an orange slice that struck a teacher in the face, school officials said. According to school records, the sixth-grader responded by laughing and asking, "Did you get any juice on you?"

A day later, one of his classmates, a 14-year-old seventh-grader, charged into teacher Bill Carroll, records show. The discipline referral on the pupil said that he "intentionally and with force ran into (Carroll)."

All of the students were suspended from campus for 10 days, then recommended for expulsion by their principals.