Hundreds of Massachusetts school children expelled for drug possession, weapons charges, and other violations remain idle and at risk of becoming dropouts because their options for reentering the education system are severely limited, says the Boston Herald. Nearly 800 youngsters have been expelled during the past three school years. Cases in which expulsions lead to criminal charges can take months to resolve, leaving the student in learning limbo, especially when families are too poor to find alternatives. “Schools are not required to take in a student, assuming their exclusion is done legally, even if they are at the age of 10. They are not required by law to give that student an education,” said Isabel Raskin of Suffolk University's Juvenile Justice Center. “What kind of future does a child have if they're 13 years old and expelled from school?”
“Every student is entitled to a free public education,” said a state education department spokeswoman. “But when a student has been expelled on a felony charge for drugs, weapons or assault on a school personnel, no other district is obligated to enroll that student. The options that remain for parents are private, parochial or home school.” The state says that out of 1,784 reports of knife offenses, 84 students were permanently expelled. Ten 10 students were permanently expelled for offenses relating to firearms, and 13 were expelled for other weapons offenses.