BY THE COURT
district court has jurisdiction to review and modify a school
board's decision under K.S.A. 60-2101(d).
an appeal is taken under K.S.A. 60-2101(d), the district
court may not substitute its judgment for that of the
political or taxing subdivision or agency and the court's
scope of review is limited to deciding whether the
board's decision was within the scope of its authority;
its decision was substantially supported by the evidence; and
it did not act fraudulently, arbitrarily, or capriciously.
appellate court exercises the same statutorily limited review
of a political or taxing subdivision action as the district
from Seward District Court; Bradley E. Ambrosier, judge.
Opinion filed March 15, 2019. Affirmed.
L. Frymire and Richard R. Yoxall, of Yoxall, Antrim, Foreman
& Frymire, LLP, of Liberal, for appellant.
Premer Chavez, of Tahirkheli & Premer-Chavez Law Office,
LLC, of Liberal, for appellee.
Gardner, P.J., Hill and Schroeder, JJ.
government requires political and taxing subdivisions to give
reasons for imposing penalties such as expulsion from public
schools. In this appeal of a student's expulsion, the
U.S.D. 480 Board of Education failed to give any reason why
it increased the length of that student's expulsion to
the statutory maximum when it reviewed the decision of the
school superintendent. When the student appealed to the
district court, it held that the Board's action of
increasing the length of this student's expulsion was
arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable. The court then
modified the Board's order by reducing the term of the
student's expulsion to the length suggested by the
superintendent of schools. Finding no error, we affirm.
the understanding of the facts, we offer a brief outline of
the procedures used to expel this public school student.
Review of this expulsion extended through several layers.
First, the student's school principal made her
recommendation. This was followed by a formal hearing before
a school district hearing officer. After that, the school
district superintendent reviewed the matter. And, finally,
the Board of Education reviewed the superintendent's
findings and recommendations and considered whether to expel
the student and if so, for how long. This student, aggrieved
by this process, sought review of the school district's
actions by the district court under K.S.A. 60-2101(d). Here
is what happened.
middle school reacted to threats posted on social media.
January 2018, a student at the Eisenhower Middle School in
U.S.D. 480 alerted Principal Randi Jones that posts on social
media were threatening a school shooting. Screen shots of the
posted threats showed that the shooting was to occur on
Wednesday, January 17.
officials reported the threats to the Liberal Police
Department for investigation. The police investigation
determined that B.O.A. was responsible for posting at least
one of the threats. B.O.A. was enrolled as a seventh grader
at the school. He acknowledged to the police that one of the
threatening posts was his by placing a checkmark by it and
writing his name. That post stated, "Lets [sic]
start a school shooting starting with EMS."
she learned that the police believed B.O.A. was responsible
for one of the threats, Principal Jones told him and his
mother that she had placed him on an immediate 10-day school
suspension. Later, while suspended from school, B.O.A. wrote
a letter of apology to the principal and the school district.
In it he stated that he intended the post as a joke, but that
it went too far. He asked for forgiveness and the opportunity
to continue going to school.
principal then notified the student and his parents that she
proposed a 186-day expulsion for B.O.A. This notice alleged
that his conduct violated several statutory provisions which
called for his expulsion. The notice also told him that he
was entitled to a formal hearing. B.O.A. requested a formal
formal hearing was held by Michael Stovall, Director of
District Systems for the school district. At the hearing,
Principal Jones, the assistant principal, B.O.A., and his
parents attended. Both of B.O.A.'s parents spoke. They
both acknowledged "he did do wrong," but that he
was a good kid who behaves at home, and was otherwise
responsible. They described his general demeanor as shy, and