The other case involved an appeal from a local board's decision to provide a student on the SOR with an education in an alternative setting and not with the rest of the student population. The local board decided to provide tutoring to the high school boy after regular school hours at the middle school attendance center. The reasons the board decided not to allow the young man to be educated with the regular population were: (1) the elementary children and high school students were all housed in the same attendance center, (2) the victim of the student's sexual abuse was a younger student, and (3) the student was new to the district so the board was simply not sure how he and the other students would get along.
The local board met and made its decision per Iowa Code section 282.9, enacted two years ago. The law requires the board of a district, upon notification that a resident student is on the SOR, to meet and "determine the educational placement of the student." The statute goes on to state:
"The tentative agenda for the meeting of the board of directors at which the board will consider such enrollment or educational placement shall specifically state that the board is considering the enrollment or educational placement of an individual who is required to register as a sex offender under chapter 692A. If the individual is denied enrollment in a school district under this section, the school district of residence shall provide the individual with educational services in an alternative setting."
The legislature did not provide any criteria for the local board to use in making these decisions. Therefore, the State Board decided that it was not unreasonable for the local board to take into consideration the safety of all students, including the student on the SOR. The local board's decision was upheld. A local board should state the reasons for its decision and why the board believes its decision to be reasonable.
NOTE also that such board meetings nearly inevitably involve discussion of confidential records, and may, therefore, be conducted in closed session per Iowa Code section 21.5(1)(a).