A Long Island student has been suspended for a year after repeatedly defying his school’s remote learning schedule, insisting that classes should always be held in person — even during a pandemic.
Maverick Stow, a senior at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, will not be allowed on school grounds for any “school-sponsored events” during his final year, including prom and graduation, officials announced Tuesday.
The 17-year-old was initially suspended for five days last week after attending in person-classes when he was scheduled for remote learning. He continued to defy school officials and appeared in person again last Wednesday and Thursday, resulting in an arrest on criminal trespass charges.
The William Floyd School District has set up a hybrid learning schedule to lower the number of students attending classes in person, an effort aimed at reducing their exposure to coronavirus in accordance with state guidelines.
But Stow continued to protest the decision and even picketed outside the school Monday, arguing that virtual learning is not good enough and that students should be in school every single day.
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District officials, meanwhile, presented the case to an “impartial hearing officer” who heard arguments from both sides before making a decision.
“The written determination of the hearing officer was made after an exhaustive hearing at which numerous witnesses testified to Mr. Stow’s repeated insubordination and disruption despite being given multiple opportunities to avoid suspension,” the district said in a statement.
Officials added that if Stow abides by the suspension and remains in good standing, they would revisit the decision at the end of the second quarter.
In an interview with WABC last week, the teen’s parents said they stood by their son and disagreed with the five-day suspension.
“Kids need to be in school every day. Virtual learning is not learning,” said his mother, Nora Kaplan-Stow. “My son is being suspended because he wants to be in school.”
But more than 100 of Stow’s own classmates signed a petition condemning his actions.
In a statement following his arrest Thursday, school officials described his behavior as a “publicity stunt” and called his actions “irresponsible and selfish.”
“He arrived wearing a neon green shirt — for high visibility — with a contingent of media just outside the fence line trying to capture him getting arrested as he entered the building,” they wrote.
District officials also said they agree with Stow’s position that school should be held in person five days per week, but they said they “must follow the social distancing requirements set forth by the state.” The district has 10 schools and about 8,800 students.
Stow could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
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