COLLIER COUNTY — A Collier County mother is fighting to keep her daughter in school.
Sherley Lamoure tells us her daughter Keiniya Ivory got in a fight with another student. At first she was only suspended, but now Lamoure says the school district is forcing her daughter to completely change schools.
Ivory said the fight happened during the school day at Palmetto Ridge High School after she confronted another student she says was spreading rumors about her.
“She told me let's go in the bathroom, let's fight, let’s settle this," said Ivory.
The fight was caught on cell phone video and you can hear students egging the two girls on. Then you can see Ivory start swinging, and the other girl appears not to be fighting back.
She said the other girl ended up having to be taken to the hospital to be checked for a concussion.
“When I heard that she went to the hospital, I did say sorry, I apologized for it, and she didn’t respond," said Ivory.
Lamoure said at first the punishment of a five day out-of-school suspension seemed reasonable, but it quickly got worse.
“You gave her five days, then 10 days, then you went ahead and 50 hours of community service. Now alternative school for a year? That’s a bit much," said Lamoure.
She said after winter break her daughter is now supposed to go to the Phoenix School in Immokalee. On that school’s website it says it provides "educational services for students who would otherwise be recommended for expulsion.”
Lamoure said she thinks that’s overkill.
“From the time she started school to the 9th Grade, this is her first fight, and this is harsh punishment," said Lamoure.
In the Student Code of Conduct it says “The principal may recommend… the alternative placement of any student who has committed a serious breach of conduct, including… violence against persons or property."
But Lamoure said, while other fights have happened at Palmetto Ridge this year, to her knowledge her daughter is the only one getting pulled out.
“All the other kids are back in school, but my daughter is not," said Lamoure.
The School District would not comment about disciplinary cases, but it did confirm there have been five fights at Palmetto Ridge so far this year.
But it’s not just Ivory's mother asking the School District to allow her to return. Lamoure said several of her teachers wrote letters defending her as well.
In one letter Lamoure provided us, a teacher writes in part “This is incredibly egregious, as this was her first school fight. There are other extenuating circumstances that you may not be aware of.”
Lamoure said she wants the opportunity to explain those circumstances to the District.
“I really need them to have another sit down and look at all of the evidence that I’ve provided before they make a decision this drastic," said Lamoure.
Lamoure tells us she is appealing her daughter’s expulsion, but has not been told when that decision will be made. She said she wants other parents to be aware of how the District is handling cases like her daughter’s.