School Board made right call in assault case

The Negaunee Public Schools has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best-run districts in the area for some years. That well-earned reputation was put to the test last week when the district’s Board of Education was called upon to review the case of two students involved in a Feb. 14 assault in one of the school’s locker rooms.

The board expelled the attacker — reportedly a freshman — for 180 school days. The student who videotaped the assault was also suspended.

If opinions expressed on social media are any indication — and bluntly put, we hate to cite much from social media, as it doesn’t usually bring out the best in people — two general opinions are being expressed about the incident and subsequent board action: One group suggests the expulsion was appropriate, given its seriousness and obvious premeditation, while another group believes the school should have stayed out of it and that the students should have been allowed to settle whatever issues were at the root of the incident by themselves.

For several reasons, we believe the board took the right course in expelling the attacker.

The assault — and it was an assault, make no mistake — took place on school district property, so school involvement is all but preordained. In addition, the attack was planned, and the injuries sustained were fairly serious, from what we understand.

Readers should keep in mind if this had happened outside of a tavern in Negaunee, the Negaunee Police Department and Marquette County Prosecutor would be looking at this very closely for potential criminal charges.

Settling differences between two people with violence is never the right choice — and certainly not in a public schools, where students should feel safe. Nothing gets fixed, and more violence is likely to result.

The board, in consort with the administration, did the right thing here. And the unanimous vote should send a clear message that violence for any reason will not be tolerated in the Negaunee Public Schools — period.

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