Student May Face Suspension For Actions Off School Grounds

Wednesday, September 5th 2012, 10:38 pm
By: News 9

A Newcastle High School student may face disciplinary action from the district for something that happened off school grounds.

Parents of the teen say the high school is crossing the line in what is now being called a case of bullying. The question the school must answer for itself is, what is bullying?

There are anti-bullying laws in Oklahoma that compel school districts to identify the problem and do its best to end it. However, the problem is the laws are broad and up for wide interpretation.

On Wednesday, as school let out two weeks after the start of his junior year, Dalton Fleenor headed to work uncertain of what discipline he may face Thursday morning.

"I find it unfair to punish someone for something they did out of school," Dalton said.

The teen's parents are not happy with school administrators.

"My husband and I, as parents, have the right to punish our child," Dalton's mother, Amanda Fleenor said. "Why should the school come into our home and punish our child for what he does at home [or at work]."

Dalton says it all started away from school at his work. Dalton says he said something to a classmate about another student. Dalton's mom says her son said, "What he did was a p**** thing to do."

Dalton insists he never even used the word to describe the classmate, just his actions. The next day, Dalton says that classmate punched him twice in the back of the head at school. Now, the family says both students face suspension.

"If you give a person a dirty look, is that bullying?" asked Amanda Fleenor. "They have to draw the line somewhere."

The school district says bullying is a complex issue.

"It's more than the physical aspect," superintendent Tony O'Brien said. "There's a whole gamut of things that come into play with bullying."

O'Brien says state bullying laws do not suggest punishment for students. Each district has its own policies to combat bullying or anything that may lead to bullying.

"We are determined that we're going to have a safe place for our students to go to school," O'Brien said.

The Fleenors met with the Newcastle High School principal late Wednesday to express their concerns.

"[Dalton] is not being a bully, and that's what irritates me so much," Amanda Fleenor said.

The school district would not comment on disciplinary actions. Dalton's parents say they do not think what their son did was right. They just want the school to keep itself in check and let parents do their own job.