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Parent questions Nassau County School District's definition of zero-tolerance policy

6:19 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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Nassau County School District
 PDF Document: OpenLetter

YULEE, Fla. -- The incident involved Yulee Middle School students on bus #416.

"Some kids got into a small fight and some words were spoken," said Sheriff Bill Leeper.

One of the students threatened to bring in a gun to kill some of the students. It sparked an open letter to the Florida Board of Education and the Nassau County School District. Was the threat serious?

"The school officer investigated and the threat did not seem credible," said Leeper.

Even so, the sheriff said after their investigation, they gave a concerned parent an option and it was declined.

"We talked to the parents and they declined to press any criminal charges," said Leeper, "They wanted the school to handle it."

The open letter, signed by "A distressed parent," expressed disappointment with the district and raise several questions.

-Where in your policies does it allow a threat to be interpreted as anything other than a threat?

-What exactly is your definition of 'zero tolerance?'


Sharyl Wood, executive administrator of the Nassau County School District, said "whenever a child says something, like a threat, we always take it seriously."

Wood said she is prohibited from discussing a student or student's discipline, but she was familiar with the open letter.

"That letter does not tell the whole story," she said.

She said the district is firm on its "zero tolerance" policy as described by Florida Statutes.

She said when you take everything in context, this incident does not violate zero tolerance.

"Context is the age of the child, what was said," said Wood, "A determination has to be made as to what is credible."

Wood said the message to all parents is Nassau County has a Zero Tolerance policy and it is taken seriously.

"The last thing that any administrator wants is for a bad thing to happen to any child in Nassau," said Wood.

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