Lockwood school trustees expelled one student but reinstated another Monday night.

Trustees deliberated about the students during separate closed sessions for each student before voting in open session. The first student was expelled for the remainder of the school year and can apply for readmission into the district next year. The second student was reinstated with a behavior contract in that place.

The students were being evaluated for separate disciplinary issues, superintendent Tobin Novasio said. Both were middle-schoolers.

The students were not identified at the meeting. Montana students usually are not identified in disciplinary matters.

The hearing for the second student lasted almost an hour, delaying the usual 6 p.m. start for the regular board meeting following the expulsion hearings.

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In schools, an expulsion hearing is typically the last stop in a line of disciplinary actions. Expulsions have a lower burden of proof than criminal proceedings, requiring a "preponderance of evidence."

In an expulsion hearing, trustees examine the evidence against the student and can call witnesses. If the student or family chooses, they can argue in their own defense or elect to have legal representation at the hearing.

While school staff members and administrators have the authority to suspend students or take other disciplinary actions, only the school board can expel.

One reason expulsion cases are treated seriously is because children in Montana are promised access to public education by law.

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