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Chester County Press

U-CF School Board approves expulsion of three students for knife incident in December

01/10/2017 08:59AM ● By J. Chambless

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The first work session for the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board after the holiday break was a busy one, with a combination of a big-ticket budget approval and the very rare announcement of the expulsion of three students.

During the personnel portion of the Jan. 9 meeting, which usually deals with routine hiring issues, the board voted to approve the expulsion of three former Unionville High School students, identified only by their student numbers. Immediately after the meeting, at 10 p.m., district superintendent John Sanville sent an email to parents and the community, giving some background on the expulsions.

“This evening, the Board of School Directors approved the expulsion of three Unionville High School students who violated our weapons policy,” Sanville wroter. “In early December 2016, a knife was brought onto school property. After investigation by the UHS administration, it was determined that three students were involved in this incident. The investigation indicates that this knife was not intended for use in an act of mass violence – but rather related to an interpersonal student matter. While no students were injured, and the incident was handled swiftly, professionally, and peacefully, it was a disturbing and unnerving experience.

“Unionville High School is a safe, protected, collaborative learning environment where all students are treated with respect and dignity,” Sanville continued. “Any threat to this atmosphere will always be dealt with firmly and fairly. Punitive and corrective actions will be used as needed. When appropriate and legally permissible, you will be notified. In this case, we delayed notification in order to fulfill our obligation to protect the due process rights of our students and to work collaboratively with law enforcement on an open police investigation.

“I would like to commend the actions of a number of UHS students who heard rumors of a weapon and quickly told administrators,” Sanville wrote. “It is just this kind of sensitivity, vigilance, and readiness to report an alarming situation that made all the difference. … Today we share with you the consequences of bad decisions, but the second half of the year is now upon us and we move forward.”

As part of the 2017-18 budgeting process, the board approved a preliminary budget at the work session. Total appropriations will be $85,519,633. Adoption of the preliminary budget is expected on Feb. 13, with adoption of the final budget and the levying of real estate taxes to take place on June 19.

The school calendar for the upcoming year, which is always the focus of intense scrutiny by families and school staff, is posted online for public input. The district is seeking the public's suggestions for any changes to the calendar. A vote to approve the final calendar will be held at the board's next meeting, on Jan. 23. Visit www.ucfsd.org for the proposed calendar and more information about the district.

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambless@chestercounty.com.


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