Officials plan to expel 3 in school attack Teens were suspended in beating of senior at Long Reach High

'A very strong message'

Victim, 17, returns to classes with his jaw wired shut

November 07, 1997|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Howard County school officials plan to expel at least three students suspended for brutally beating a senior at Columbia's Long Reach High School.

The expulsions were not officially confirmed as of late yesterday because it was unclear if the students' parents had been contacted, school system spokeswoman Patti Caplan said.

"I am not going to deny that [they will be expelled]," she said. "My only concern is I'm not sure if all the parents have been notified. Certainly, the intention is there."

Asked if the expulsion process had begun, Long Reach Principal David A. Bruzga said, "Oh yes, definitely."

It was not known if a fourth student, who was suspended late Wednesday, would also be expelled in the incident Oct. 21 at Long Reach.

The moves come days before the three students -- two 14-year-olds and one 16-year-old whom police charged with second-degree assault -- were to return from 10-day suspensions handed down after they allegedly beat and kicked Kenny Magan, 17, in a school stairwell between classes.

Kenny's jaw was fractured, and he underwent emergency surgery. His jaw is wired shut, and a steel plate is in his face, but the Jessup resident has largely recovered and is back at school.

After the incident, Bruzga immediately suspended three boys for 10 days, the maximum punishment principals may impose.

The principal also recommended to Department of Education officials that the three be expelled.

"I expected the [school system] to take appropriate action," Bruzga said. "I knew we would be supported."

The boys' names were not released because they are juveniles.

Days after the incident, parent activist Linda K. Wyatt drafted a petition and collected more than 400 signatures of students, parents and teachers urging the expulsions.

"I think it's great they're going to go through with it," Wyatt said yesterday. "I hope they put them in some kind of reform school where they can get the kind of supervision they need."

The expulsions would bring the number of students dismissed from Howard County schools this year to nine, school data show. As of the end of September, 258 students had been suspended, 162 of them high school students.

"This is the kind of thing that sends shudders through everybody," said Craig Cummings, a school administrator heading a new school system initiative aimed at curbing disruptive student behavior. "I have kids of my own in the system, and it wouldn't make me comfortable to know these kids who appear to be very violent are right there next to them in class."

Said Bruzga, "I think this will send a very strong message to students that this will not be tolerated. That's what you want to happen."

Pub Date: 11/07/97

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