One Mt. Hope High School student’s parents are frustrated by the lack of communication from school administrators while their daughter is kicked out of school.
Parents of a suspended Mt. Hope High School student are outraged and confused by the way school officials have handled their daughter’s suspension and the recent “Juggalo” incident.
“We don’t even understand why she is being punished in the first place,” said Mark Andrade, the father of sophomore Desaray Skac, who was suspended from Mt. Hope High School last week.
According to Andrade and Desaray’s mother, Mary Skac, the school administration has left them in the dark as to why Desaray was suspended to begin with, nor why the suspension has been extended twice, to a total of seven days. Skac says the whirlwind of confusion began last Thursday, after she received a call about her daughter wearing clown-like makeup to school, followed by a fight involving her daughter’s boyfriend.
“The school made it sound like she wasn’t in any trouble,” Skac said.
On Thursday Skac received a voice message from Nat Squatrito, the school’s dean of students, notifying her that Desaray was in no trouble but that there was talk around the school of threats made by members of a clique that Desaray affiliates herself with, known as the Juggalos. He said Desaray’s belongings were searched but nothing was found and that Desaray was cooperative with officials and removed her face makeup.
No explanation for suspension
Skac says Squatrito called back after a fight broke out in the bus circle to inform her that Desaray had been suspended for three days and could not return to school until Wednesday, Nov. 9. Skac says Squatrito provided no information regarding the reason for the suspension.
“We didn’t understand because Desaray wasn’t involved in the fight,” she said. “She had been in the Dean’s office all day. She wasn’t even there when it happened. So we had no idea why she was getting suspended.”
The next day, Skac received another voice message notifying her that the principal, Donald Rebello, decided to extend Desaray’s suspension another three days, again not citing any specific infraction.
Parents say they can’t get answers
“I’ve called the school back numerous times and it seems like no one can give me an answer,” she says. “One person says call back after work, then no one answers. I finally spoke with another dean at the school and asked why they keep adding days to my daughter’s suspension and not to the other students, but he said he couldn’t discuss the cases of other students. No one can give me a straight answer.”
But on Monday, Skac hit her boiling point when she received yet another voice message stating that a reinstatement hearing was being organized for Desaray on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and that officials decided to, once again, extend her suspension.
“I’m just so confused,” she says. “My daughter has been suspended for seven days and I have no idea why.”
Andrade agrees, noting he is troubled by the contradicting voice messages.
“The first message says she’s not in any trouble,” he says. “Okay, so why was she suspended then? And why do they keep adding on days?”
Administration seems to violate student handbook
According to the Mt. Hope High School student handbook, there are 19 infractions that can result in a student’s suspension. Eleven of those can result in suspension of more than five days. The handbook also states students will be given an informal hearing prior to suspension and that administrators will notify parents of the suspension and “state the cause(s) leading to the suspension.” The handbook also states that a letter will be sent to the parents or guardians stating the nature of the infraction and noting the consequences.
It appears none of those steps were followed. Desaray’s parents say they have not received a letter, been invited to an informal hearing or been told the reason for her suspension.
Another parent whose child was suspended on the same day as Desaray was also not provided with a reason. That student’s suspension was also extended and the parent was only provided with the explanation that it was for the safety of the student and the students in the school.
But Desaray’s parents say if their child’s safety is at risk by her returning to school, an extended suspension doesn’t provide much comfort that the issue will subside by the time she is allowed to return to school.
“We’re very worried about her going back to school,” Andrade says.
Student scared to return
Desaray says she is worried as well.
“Honestly, I’m really scared to go back,” she says, adding that police advised her not to go anywhere alone. “I already can’t go out alone anywhere, even in my own neighborhood, without the fear of being jumped.”
Desaray says, most importantly, that she thinks the school is sending the wrong message to students and parents about bullying.
“If kids are having a problem, the school tells us to go to the dean and report it,” she says. “But what is the point? We tried that and nothing got done and now I’m the one suspended and they haven’t even told me why.”
Superintendent Melinda Thies did not return a Monday call for comment as of 11 am on Tuesday.
Juggalo gang paints up and makes threats to other students , juggalette kicked out , parents cry . Parents how about you stop a teen girl from joining a gang and not make it the schools issue ?