Alyssa Drescher's expulsion from United South Central is now complete, but the issue is far from over.
During a three hour expulsion hearing on April 24, the USC School Board unanimously decided to expel Drescher for bringing a knife to school.
Christopher Johnson, Drescher's lawyer, filed an appeal with the Minnesota Department of Education shortly after the expulsion hearing.
Drescher will be facing an uphill climb in hopes of having her expulsion reversed.
According to a spreadsheet supplied by the Minnesota Department of Education, the department has reversed only one of the 54 expulsion appeals filed in the last 10 years. Out of those 54 instances, there were only two appeals where the department adjusted the duration of the expulsion. There has not been a decision on the expulsion appeal as of yet, according to Josh Collins, Minnesota Department of Education director of communications.
According to Collins, the record was closed on June 12. That is when the department received all of the information necessary to make a final decision.
"The department reviewed a recording of the expulsion hearing and have documented briefs from both the administration and Alyssa," Johnson says. "Her brief explained how it was an abusive punishment, which did not fit the crime."
A decision is expected soon, according to Collins.
"Minnesota State Statute says the commissioner will issue a decision within 30 calendar days of receiving the entire record," he explains.
Since Drescher's expulsionary only included time to the end of the school year and is now completed, it cannot be shortened. Therefore, Johnson hopes the final decision will now be to have the expulsion taken off of Drescher's permanent record instead.
"In addition to the matter being taken off her record, we hope the administration will give her the opportunity to make up some work she missed while she was expelled," Johnson says. "Alyssa had a tutor, but the tutor had no familiarity with advanced math and chemistry. She basically had to teach herself."
According to Rick Drescher, Alyssa's father, she received her first 'C' in her high school career, due to the lack of attention she was getting.
"It has been a tough struggle," he says. "She actually had two tutors who spent a total of five hours a week with her. Her grades went down a full letter grade."
In addition to community support and positive comments on the family-run Facebook page (which currently has 6,745 likes), Drescher has received extra support from local politicians.
Represenative Shannon Savick, DFL-Wells, wrote a letter to the Minnesota Department of Education in support for the department to overturn the expulsion.
"Miss Drescher is a good student and someone supported by our community," Savick said in the letter. "Our community has rallied behind her in search of a more common sense outcome."
There were 24 state legislators who signed Savick's letter for the additional support.
According to Rick Drescher, the family has not made a decision in regard to whether or not Alyssa will return to USC for her senior year.
"As of right now, I don't think we want her to return to USC," Rick Drescher explains. "In the end, however, it is Alyssa's decision. She was so excited for the new school building, but as of right now, we are just focusing on the Minnesota Department of Education's decision."
If the Minnesota Department of Education upholds the expulsion, Johnson will raise constitutional issues in the form of another appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
"We all just hope the department will review our case accordingly and reverse the decision," Johnson says.