Student expelled by Ga. school for writing story deemed threatening

GEORGIA —- A Roswell High School freshmanreturned to school Monday after school officials temporarily lifted herexpulsion, a punishment she received for writing a fictional story in herpersonal journal about a student who dreams of killing a teacher.RachelBoim, 14, was suspended and later expelled after her art teacher confiscated herjournal Oct. 7 because she passed it to a friend in class. The teacher keptBoim’s journal overnight and read through its contents. One storyin the journal told of an unnamed girl who dreams she shoots and kills anunidentified math teacher. As the girl is escaping from school, she is shot bya security guard. Then the school bell rings and the girl wakes up, gathers herbooks and heads off to her next class. When Boim attended school thefollowing day, school police escorted her from her second-period class. Herparents were called to take her home. On Oct. 9, Boim, an honorsstudent, was suspended for 10 days.In a three-hour, closed meeting onOct. 22, Boim’s parents, Georgia’s poet laureate and the editor of aGeorgia State University literary magazine testified that her story wasfictional and should not have been considered a threat. Boim and her parentsallege the school violated her First Amendment right to free speech and herFourth Amendment right, which protects individuals from illegal search andseizure. However, a Fulton County School District official decided Boimshould be expelled from Roswell High School for the remainder of the year.Mitzi Edge, executive director of communications for the district, saidBoim was expelled because she violated the student code of conduct, whichprohibits students from making threats against the school.Boim was toldshe could attend a different school within the district, but school officialsmust approve the choice. After intense media coverage, schoolofficials temporarily lifted Boim’s expulsion Friday until thedistrict’s interim superintendent can review the case on Nov. 13.At school on Monday, administrators transferred Boim out of the artclass in which her journal was confiscated, Edge said. In addition,Boim was moved out of her math class because her story depicted the shooting ofa math teacher.Edge said the district did not view Boim as a threat onMonday, and the school had no additional security. The assistantprincipal escorted Boim out of the classroom at the end of the day to guard herfrom large number of reporters that had gathered, Edge said.In a guestcolumn in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution this weekend, Boimwrote about her expulsion.”This experience will not discourage mefrom writing. If anything, it will motivate me to write more stories. I willjust have to be more careful about where I write them and who I show themto,” she wrote. Neither Boim nor her parents could be reached forcomment.