School expels student

Alexis Barker, NLJ News Editor

The student who brought a gun to school on March 15, leading to lockdowns at both Newcastle High School and Newcastle Middle School, has been expelled for one year. The Weston County School District No. 1 board of trustees voted in favor of the expulsion following a brief executive session on March 29. 


Before the vote, Chairman John Riesland addressed a room full of people. 


“Before we get started, I know some of you might be here to talk about what took place on March 15 at the school,” he said. “At this meeting, we cannot discuss that because it is an ongoing investigation.” 


He noted that any concerns, questions, solutions or anything else should be directed to the Newcastle Police Department or Weston County Sheriff’s Office. 


Riesland assured those in attendance that “down the road” the board would be discussing school security. 


“We will have those conversations, as of tonight, we cannot do that,” he said. 


Riesland explained that the board had to remain as impartial as possible so the board could effectively perform its duty as jury in the expulsion hearing for the student. 


“We don’t want to have too many facts or too many non-facts or whatever is out there to influence our votes,” he said. “Just so you know, we won’t discuss that tonight.” 


Riesland also touched on criticism of the school’s communication with parents and the community during the incident, stating that he was told that parents had received information from other parents and friends before the school’s provided any. He explained that the administrators, police department, sheriff’s department and staff were “pretty busy” addressing the situation. 


“Until we had some facts, nothing was put out,” Riesland said, noting that as soon as information was available, it was released through proper channels. 


“Everyone walked out of the school, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said. “We need to be very inspired by that. Thank God for that result.” 


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