BOZEMAN, Mont. – The Belgrade School Board has voted to expel a 19-year-old high school senior who has been convicted of a sex offense, saying he could not be educated at school or in any alternative setting.
The board suggested he earn his GED or consider home schooling.
The student had been attending Belgrade High for three years and was close to graduating when he was suspended after school officials learned he was on the sex offender registry. However, the board had said it would seek an alternative way for him to finish school.
Board members decided it wasn't feasible to offer the student the seven credits he needed to graduate outside of a regular school setting. The school district only counts two online or correspondence courses toward graduation and the board was unwilling to change the policy.
"The number of correspondence courses is more than I would be comfortable with for any student," board member Peter Morgan said after the meeting. "There wasn't a viable option, as far as I'm concerned, of keeping him as a student in the district."
Allowing him to finish school online could have opened the door to allowing other students to take a high number of courses online, reducing the need and benefits of a regular school setting, the board decided.
"We've done what we can do," board member Richard Hueth said.
The school district had no obligation to him because he is 19 and not defined as a pupil under Montana law and lives outside the school district.
The 19-year-old and a 15-year-old student were discovered on the state's sex offender registry earlier this month. The 15-year-old is suspended and the board is scheduled to meet next Monday to decide if he should be expelled.