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Hammond Central to review its non-resident students policy


HAMMOND – Hammond’s school superintendent says the Board of Education will review its non-resident student policy at its board meeting next week after three students who live in Brier Hill were asked to leave the school last month.

Viola J. Helm, Brier Hill, said her three daughters, Razia D. Phillips, 16, Jasmine A. Warwick, 13, and Macy A. Helm, 10, were, without warning, asked to leave the school directly after a meeting with interim Superintendent Randy C. Richards on Oct. 29.

Mr. Richards said Thursday he couldn’t comment on the issue since it involved public discussion of individual students which is against district policy, but he said the school board will review its non-resident student policy next week.

The school’s policy states that a nonresident should be allowed to attend Hammond tuition free if they meet the following conditions:

n A meeting is held between the parents and the Board of Education to discuss attendance.

n There is sufficient space to accommodate the non-resident student.

n No increase in size of faculty or staff will be necessary.

n Admittance will not result in the establishment of a new section.

n Parents/ guardians must work out transfer conditions with the home school district or provide their own transportation. No transportation route will be changed to accommodate this policy.

n All rules and regulations in effect for district students will be applicable to non-district students. Final decisions regarding the acceptance of non-residents rest with the Board of Education.

Mrs. Helm said she moved out of the district in 2011 after a fire destroyed her family’s home. She said while no

formal meeting was held with the school board, former superintendent Douglas H. McQueer said the girls were welcome to keep attending classes until they graduated.

Mrs. Helm said that during the first year the district paid to transport the girls back and forth to Hammond. But since 2012, the girls have been dropped off at her parents’ home in Hammond to be picked up by the school bus.

After her meeting with Mr. Richards, Ms. Helm said she became emotional and yelled at the superintendent. As a result, Mr. Richards told Ms. Helm she could not return to school property.

“I swore at him,” Ms. Helm said. “I was at the door and my kids came out, crying, and I became upset for them after they had to say goodbye to their friends and their teachers. It was a nightmare.”

Mr. Richards said he couldn’t comment on the incident. He said the school has a strict code of conduct policy regarding visitors, suggesting that Ms. Helm violated those rules.

As of Monday, the three girls began attending school in Morristown.

“The only thing my girls want to do is go to Hammond where they have spent the last five years,” Ms. Helm said. “All of this seems so unfair and my children have been in tears because of all of this. My kids are not the only kids living out of district. They feel so singled out.”

The school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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