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Family Plans to Fight USC School Board Decision to Expel Student

Updated: 04/25/2014 9:21 AM
Created: 04/24/2014 11:44 PM KAALtv.com

(ABC 6 News) -- A week and a half ago a police dog zeroed in on a locker at United South Central High School during a routine inspection.

The girl who owned a pocket-knife found inside said she brought it by mistake, but the school says they have a zero tolerance weapons policy.

Thursday night the school board met to decide whether to expel the honor roll student.

Friends and family packed the small classroom at United South Central to show support for 17-year-old Alyssa Drescher.
     
The family requested the expulsion hearing be an open hearing, and the proceedings felt more like a full-on criminal trial than a school board hearing.

After opening remarks, the school district began by calling witnesses to talk about school policy and how the knife was found.

The school's liaison officer, principal, and the superintendent all testified that Drescher had broken school policy by failing to come forward after she knew the knife was in her locker.
     
Drescher's lawyer argued that it was an honest mistake, that she forgot the knife was in her purse after using it that weekend for chores on her boyfriend's farm.

Several teachers and coaches testified that Drescher was a model student and both Drescher and her father gave statements saying they felt her suspension was enough.

After more than two hours of testimony the board went into a closed session for more than an hour before reaching a decision.

In the end the board voted unanimously to expel Drescher for the rest of the school year, but gave no reason behind their decision.

"Clearly they had the discretion to not do that and in other cases the school district did not choose to expel a student for unintentionally bringing a prohibited item to school," Christopher Johnson, Drescher's lawyer said.

Outside the classroom Drescher and friends were in tears, and her father said he was too emotional to speak with us.

However; their lawyer said the family would continue fighting to get Drescher back in classroom before the end of the year.

"We believe that the punishment does not fit the alleged crime and we will be pursuing legal options against the school district to protect Alyssa's rights," Johnson said.

The school is still obligated to provide education for Drescher, so in theory she will be no further behind other students when she returns in the fall.

Photo: ABC 6 News