Lawrence's school district made use of a new state law allowing students to be expelled beyond the end of the school year.
Thanks to a new state law allowing extended expulsions, Lawrence school district administrators were able to mete out a stiffer punishment for a student who brought a gun to school in April.
Under the old state law, administrators would have been able to suspend the student through the end of the school year, or about four weeks.
But under a new law that was effective for the 1994-95 school year, administrators were able to expel the student for a full year -- until early May 1996, Bob Taylor, assistant superintendent, said today.
The Journal-World reported on April 26 that a seventh-grader at Central Junior High School brought a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun to school on April 25.
Taylor, who declined today to name the student or the school, said a hearing panel recommended expulsion for the student, who brought both the gun and bullets to school.
"I think it's a reasonable law," Taylor said. "... Otherwise, if we didn't have this law, this kid would have been out only four weeks."
Taylor said the new law was designed to help administrators be fair. He said students who committed infractions in September or October would be given longer expulsions than those who committed the same infractions in April or May.
The new law also allows administrators to handle expulsions for more serious offenses, Taylor said.
"Bringing guns to school is a very serious kind of offense and I think it ought to be treated as such," he said.
Although other students were suspended or expelled during the 1994-95 school year, the incident of the student bringing the gun to school was the only time the new expulsion power was used, Taylor said.
A Kansas City area newspaper recently reported that three Johnson County school districts have expelled 11 students beyond the end of the school year for infractions that include making a bomb threat and carrying a gun to school.