Cobb considers discipline against student despite overturned expulsion

Cobb County School District administrators are considering disciplinary action against a student, although its expulsion was overturned by the state months ago and the student has earned a GED diploma.

The former Campbell High student allegedly was found with a vape pen appearing to contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the school bathroom in September 2021, according to state documents. The substance was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing, but the results were not available at the time of the district’s hearing on the matter.

ExploreGeorgia Board of Education overturns expulsion of Cobb student

The student was expelled in October, but in May, the Georgia Board of Education voted unanimously to reinstate the student after determining the student’s due process rights were violated, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is representing the student.

After the state’s decision in May, the district said it found that the same student violated the code of conduct during the same incident, the law center said in a news release. The student has earned a GED and moved out of Cobb County, the law center said.

“Still, at significant taxpayer expense, Cobb County’s lawyers pursued a new hearing, seeking to extend (the student’s) expulsion to the 2022-2023 school year,” said Claire Sherburne, a senior attorney for the law center, in the release. “We believe that this decision, led by Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, was an illegal act of retaliation of (the student’s) successful appeal to the state board of education, and should be reversed by the Cobb County Board of Education.”

A district spokeswoman did not return a request for comment. The district typically does not comment on issues regarding student discipline.

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The Cobb school board discussed the issue earlier this month during a private executive session. They voted during the public meeting to send the issue back to a hearing officer to determine whether the district has jurisdiction on the issue.

Board member Charisse Davis voted against the action. Jaha Howard recused himself.

The law center this week asked the board to “immediately decide that it does not have jurisdiction and expunge this unlawful disciplinary outcome from (the student’s) record.”