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MR. MARVIN L. JONES, MRS. MARVIN L. JONES, AND THEIR DAUGHTER, REGINA JONES v. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PASCAGOULA MUNICIPAL SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICT

APRIL 20, 1988

MR. MARVIN L. JONES, MRS. MARVIN L. JONES, AND THEIR DAUGHTER, REGINA JONES
v.
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE PASCAGOULA MUNICIPAL SEPARATE SCHOOL DISTRICT



BEFORE DAN LEE, PRATHER AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

DAN LEE, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Regina Jones and her parents appeal Regina's expulsion from school for the spring semester of the 1985-86 school year.

On January 15, 1986, Regina Jones was suspended from William M. Colmer Junior High School of the Pascagoula Municipal Separate School District for alleged involvement with drugs on campus. She was later expelled by vote of the Board of Trustees.

 Since it is not clear the Joneses were prejudiced by alleged procedural errors, and it is clear the school board had sufficient evidence to find a violation of school rules warranting expulsion, we affirm.

 I.

 On January 20, 1986, the Board's Disciplinary Review Committee held a hearing regarding alleged drug involvement. Several students appeared separately before the committee. At the hearing Assistant Principal Allen Curry stated that he spoke with 10 students and nine of them said Regina was distributing drugs. This appears in the recorded transcript of the disciplinary review hearing for Regina.

 The committee unanimously recommended expulsion of Regina Jones "from school for the remainder of 1985-86 school year for violation of the Pascagoula Municipal Separate School District's Alcohol/Drug Policy." This recommendation was appealed by appellants to Dr. Dwight Shelton, Superintendent of the school district. Upon a review of the record the superintendent recommended to the board of trustees that Regina Jones be expelled for the remainder of the 1985-86 school year. The decision of the superintendent was appealed to the board of trustees.

 On March 25, 1986, the board of trustees of the Pascagoula Municipal Separate School District held an evidentiary hearing at which Regina and her parents appeared with counsel.

 Principal Kathryn Dambrino told the board she spoke with five students on January 14, 1986, and all of them said that drugs were being supplied by Regina Jones. On January 15 or 16

 she said another woman and assistant principal Curry met with three other female students who admitted distributing or buying Vivarin, and all three stated they received the drug from Regina Jones. A fourth student, Brandon Erwin, told Curry he received one valium from Regina Jones at school and she offered him another one. The three female students did not appear at the board hearing; however, Erwin and two other students making allegations against Regina Jones did appear and were questioned and cross-examined.

 Erwin told the board that Regina Jones gave him a pill in the school hallway, though he was not sure it was valium at the time she handed it to him. Regina told him later that day the pill was valium. Erwin's sister Tasha told the board that after "Brandon" had told her he had been discovered for having drugs, Regina walked up to her locker and said she had given "Brandon" the pill. The record is unclear, but it appears Tasha was referring to Brandon Winstead, not her brother Brandon Erwin.

 Brandon Winstead told the board he received 10 valium from Regina one day when he stopped by her house after school. Sean Dixon told the board he was with Winstead the day he received the valium. He said they were walking home from school at the time.

 Though the three girls, Stacey Mixon, Patricia and Tammy Dean did not appear, Mrs. Dambrino stated the girls all said Regina was a drug source; however, this was after Regina had turned them in for having drugs. Regina's mother said that afterward these girls would repeatedly call Regina, during which time she would listen on the other telephone, and they would tell Regina, "we'll get you for turning us in."

 Regina continued to deny any involvement with providing drugs and suggested the girls and one of the three boys had motives for wanting to get her in trouble.

 Regina's mother told the board that some valium had turned up missing at home, but she believed Regina did not take it. Regina's mother also stated that her kitchen door had been left open in the afternoons before her children arrived home. Her home had been vandalized on several occasions and some change turned up missing from her kitchen, all occurring about the time of day school gets out, during the last couple of years. The Joneses' home is two to three blocks from the school.

 Regina stated that other people knew the valium was at her home for her grandmother's prescription; however, when pressed, she did not know of any students who had reason to know of the

 valium.

 There was evidence that Regina had been tested for drugs and the results were negative. Regina also supposedly requested a lie detector test, but it is not clear if this was done.

 On March 25, 1986, the board of trustees unanimously voted to expel Regina Jones from school for the remainder of 1985-86 school year.

 Appellants appealed the expulsion voted by the board of trustees by filing a complaint in the Chancery Court of Jackson County. The record filed for review in chancery court contained transcripts of the disciplinary review hearings of nine students other than Regina Jones.

 On May 18, 1986, appellants filed with the chancery court a motion to strike from the record the transcripts of the nine students mentioned above. On May 20, 1986, the chancellor rendered an order overruling the motion to strike and affirming the decision of the board of trustees of the ...


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