Expelled student's return raises parent fears

January 19, 2011 4:51:13 PM PST
A teenager was caught with a gun at school in Katy ISD, and eyewitnesses claim he threatened other students with it. The student was expelled, but now he may be let back into his old school.

That has some parents worried.

The incident happened January 13, 2010. A Katy High School freshman brought a gun to school, was expelled and spent the last year at an alternative campus. But now the district is allowing him to rejoin his classmates.

It was 12 months ago that a Katy ISD freshman was expelled for bringing a gun to school and showing it to three classmates who then turned him in.

Now that student is set to come back to Katy, and that isn't sitting well with everyone.

"I think the school board really needs to take a harder stance on this," said Kerri Howell, a family friend of one of the classmates who saw the gun.

The classmate's family has expressed its concerns to the district and now fears of retaliation.

"I believe every student has the right to an education and a quality education," Howell said. "But we also have to make sure that our students don't fear for their lives whenever they go to school."

For its part the Katy Independent School District would not go on camera, but a spokesman did tell us the student did not make a threat with the gun and has fulfilled his punishment.

The district later issued the following statement:

    "The process of returning a student to school is something that is taken very seriously by our district and the local campus.

    Returning students are closely monitored by administrators, teachers and security personnel to ensure that they are abiding by all campus policies and procedures."

And while state law requires the district provide an education for the student, it does not mandate that the district return the student to the same campus. It's a choice Katy ISD has made and is comfortable with -- even if some others are not.

"I say we need to change the laws. There's got to be something to keep this student out of the general population -- at least out of the same population he was in previously," Howell said.

The district also says that any time a student is removed from school and wishes to return that they must go through a re-admittance process, in which the student and his parents meet with the campus principal to discuss the student's return to school.

However, the school typically does not send out a notification to other parents if the student is allowed back.