WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. - The Williamsville Central School District superintendent has announced the suspension of a student in connection with alleged bullying of Jamey Rodemeyer's sister at the recent homecoming bonfire.
The incident followed the suicide death of Rodemeyer, 14, which has been linked by his parents to the harassment he suffered from classmates who bullied him.
Superintendent Scott Martzloff announced the suspension in a video posted on the school district website.
In the video, Martzloff says the district has identified a single student believed responsible for the alleged incident at the dance, and that Marzloff imposed a long-term suspension which was "to the fullest extent allowed by state education law."
Through a spokesperson, Martzloff declined requests by 2 On Your Side for an interview.
However, regarding Martzloff's statement that the suspenstion was "to the fullest extent allowed by state education law," Jonathan Burman, a spokesperson for the State Department of Education, wrote in an e-mail to WGRZ-TV:
* Student discipline is a local, not a state, matter.
* Every school is required to adopt a Code of Conduct that clearly establishes what is -- and what is not -- deemed acceptable behavior at that school.
* I can't speak for the superintendent, so I can't say what he considers the strongest measure of student discipline available under state law.
* NYS Education Law allows for student suspensions for a period of up to 5 days without a formal hearing (notice to the student's parents and the opportunity for an informal meeting are required by law); a suspension for a period longer than 5 days requires the school to offer the student and his/her parents the opportunity for a formal hearing.
As noted by Burman, Williamsville does have a Code of Conduct, a review of which would indicate that the the most severe penaty a student could suffer in Williamsville would be "permanent suspension from school".
Jamey Rodemeyer was a freshman at Williamsville North when he took his own life a few weeks ago. His parents told Two On Your Side Jamey committed suicide because of bullying.
The Rodemeyers say that students approached Jamey's sister, Alyssa at the homecoming bonfire and told her they were glad Jamey was dead.
In his video message, Martzloff also discusses the school district's initial response in the wake of Rodemeyer's suicide, its plans to address the issue of bullying in the future, and the importance of school safety.
Watch the superintendent's video here.
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