Johnston School Board expels student who brought gun to school; votes against equity audit

The Johnston School Board Monday evening expelled a middle school student who brought a gun to school in early September.

The decision to expel the student was unanimous and at the recommendation of Superintendent Laura Kacer after a closed session.

The board took action after an email sent to families and staff on Sept. 9 reported that a Johnston Middle School student had brought a gun to school in his backpack.

According to the email provided by the district, the incident occurred Sept. 8, and “a few students saw the weapon, but it was not brandished and no students were threatened.”

The Johnston Police Department is investigating the matter.

As a result of this incident and others, district officials have implemented a clear-bag policy at all games held at Dragon Stadium in Johnston. Earlier in September, there were rumors of a gun in the stadium during a fight in a restroom, said Director of Communications Lynn Meadows. Police did not find a gun at the stadium.

District leaders had already been working to improve safety this year, such as providing active intruder training to staff, requiring students to sit in student sections or with a parent during sports events and prohibiting students from being on the concourse or grassy areas during games at the stadium.

Board votes against equity audit

Six school board members voted no to an administration recommendation by former Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Louis Fountain to contract for an equity audit by Iowa City company West Wind.

Board President Katie Fiala was the lone “yes” vote.

At the board’s last regular meeting Sept. 12, members heard a draft proposal by West Wind Educational Policy President Circe Strombo. According to the meeting’s agenda, “an Equity Audit can help the Johnston Community School District team and community understand where we are and where we would like to be in terms of equity.”

Several of the board members said at Monday’s meeting that they would like to submit a request for proposals from other companies engaged in equity work.

Board member Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher said she supports an equity audit but would like the process of choosing a provider to be more collaborative among board members.

“I would entertain the idea of an RFP because I think … we should all have a say in what we're asking for,” she said.

Sarah LeBlanc covers the western suburbs for the Register. Reach her at 515-284-8161 or Follower her on Twitter at @sarahkayleblanc

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Johnston district expels student who brought gun to middle school