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SPLC: Cobb County Board of Education Recent Decision Prolongs Retaliation of Former Student

COBB COUNTY, Ga. – Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) asked the Cobb County Board of Education to reconsider its recent decision to remand the discipline case of N.G., a former Cobb County student who was expelled during the 2021-2022 school year. 

In a letter today, the SPLC asked the board to immediately decide the case.

“The board’s recent decision to remand N.G.’s case for a third hearing is yet another attempt to prolong a frivolous pursuit to punish a former student,” said Claire Sherburne, senior staff attorney for Children’s Rights at the SPLC. “We believe this case is in direct retaliation for N.G.’s successful appeal to the Georgia Board of Education and has gone on long enough. Cobb County taxpayers continue to carry this unnecessary expense. We urge the Cobb County school board to immediately decide that it does not have jurisdiction and expunge this unlawful disciplinary outcome from N.G.’s record.”

After the Georgia Board of Education held in a May 2022 decision that N.G.’s expulsion violated his due process rights, the Cobb County School District initiated a new discipline hearing, seeking to extend the original expulsion through the first semester of the current school year. The SPLC appealed the hearing officer’s finding that N.G. was in possession of or under the influence of THC.

On September 15, the Cobb County Board of Education voted to remand N.G.’s case to “cure evidentiary and legal deficiencies." In a letter issued to N.G. on September 20, the board clarified that the new hearing would seek evidence on the limited issue of whether the Cobb County School District has jurisdiction to pursue disciplinary action against N.G.

The Cobb County School District conducts hundreds of discipline hearings each year, seeking long-term suspensions or expulsions of students accused of violating the code of conduct. Of the 739 discipline hearings last year, only 21 of those students had a lawyer. Black students and students with disabilities make up a disproportionate number of all discipline cases in the district.

A copy of the letter is available here.