School System Rules Murder Suspect Cannot Attend Classes
Posted February 3, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
FAYETTEVILLE — TheCumberland County School Boardruled that a student suspected of murder cannot attend school in the interest of safety.
Shanon Tyson was moved toDouglas Byrd High Schoolafter being charged in connection with the murder of 16-year-old Chris Eggleston. Thursday, after those charges had been upgraded to first degree murder, the school board decided that Tyson could no longer attend classes.
School officials admit that it was a very difficult incident to deal with, but say they acted quickly and decisively. They wanted to make it clear that the top priority was the safety of the student body as a whole.
"Mr. Ellis, the principal at Douglas Byrd, took the appropriate action," says Chip Grammer, who is in charge of Douglas Byrd's school security. "He was looking out for everybody's welfare, safety and security."
Ironically, the expulsion happened on the same day the school had its first safe school meeting for parents. The murder victim's parent were in the crowd with their only child's memory in the back of their minds.
"I'm happy with it," says Wayne Eggleston, the victim's father. "I think it is an appropriate action. As Chip Grammer said in the meeting, the safety of the students is paramount if they are going to be in a learning environment."
The handful of parents at the meeting agreed with the decision to keep Tyson away from the other students. However, they also said it was important to be fair to Tyson.
"I do know that it is in the best interest of the administrators to create a safe environment," says parent Melanie DeBouse. "And while everyone at the school has rights, the young lady also has rights. So I have to refrain from stating my opinion as to if they did the right thing."
Tyson will be able to graduate with her class. She will have to take her classes over the Web Academy, an Internet service that allows a student to work from home.