Student in bus incident expelled until Oct. 28

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A Glacier High School freshman has been expelled until the end of the quarter for his role in an alleged assault on a football bus.

After a three-hour hearing, the Kalispell school board voted 8-3 late Tuesday to keep the student out of school for the remainder of the current quarter. He also must complete a behavioral plan laid out by the school.

The quarter ends Oct. 28.

The boy has been suspended from school since the Sept. 12 incident. Suspensions longer than 20 days become expulsions and can be imposed only by school trustees. According to state law, "expulsion is any removal of a pupil for more than 20 school days."

The practical effect of the board's decision is that the student will miss 11 more school days before being allowed to return to class.

The board reached its decision after listening to families, attorneys and School Resource Officer Jason Parce.

An investigation by Parce determined criminal sexual assault charges should be brought against two of the students involved in the incident. On the bus ride back from a game, as many as eight Glacier freshman football players allegedly were assaulted by six of their teammates.

When the vote was taken and the punishment announced, some attendees lightly clapped, pleased with the result, while others did not try to hide the disgust in their voices.

It was an anticlimactic two-minute-long end to three hours of waiting and holding muted conversations in the hallway as each speaker was brought into the library at Kalispell Middle School to share his or her testimony.

Notably missing from the meeting were sanitized copies of the report on the school's investigation of the incident, which Superintendent Darlene Schottle previously had said would be available.

Board members Anna Marie Bailey, Jack Fallon and Mark Twichell voted against the expulsion. 

"I voted nay because I think he should be back in school on Monday," Bailey said.

The other five students suspended for the incident have returned to school. All six were kicked off the football team, which went on to have an undefeated season.

Criminal charges still are undetermined in the case.

Deputy County Attorney Lori Adams said earlier Tuesday that she and County Attorney Ed Corrigan were just beginning to interview those involved. She said they hoped to determine by Friday if any of the six accused students will face charges and what those charges should be.

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