Unauthorized Student Spent Two Days at Alabama School

Unauthorized Student Spent Two Days at Alabama School

A 15-year-old student from a private school in Huntsville, Ala., spent two days blending into the student body of a crosstown high school and attending classes last month.

A 15-year-old student from a private school in Huntsville, Ala., spent two days blending into the student body of a crosstown high school and attending classes last month, according to Alabama.com.

When the student returned to Jemison High School for a third day, she was detained by Huntsville City Schools officials. She was later expelled from the private school, Huntsville Achievement School.

At a Board of Education meeting Jan. 24, Huntsville City Schools Superintendent Christie Finley said there was a school-aged student on campus during the afternoon on Jan. 7 “for approximately three hours.” Finley said the timeframe was determined by reviewing campus surveillance video.

“We went minute-by-minute, second-by-second through it,” Finley said.

Richard Reynolds, principal of Huntsville Achievement School, said the student did not show up to classes on Jan. 7-8.

“She was sending texts to students here,” Reynolds said. “After we found this out, she was essentially bragging through texts.”

According to Reynolds, the student blended into the students at Jemison and attended classes. Reynolds said that a Huntsville Achievement School faculty member anonymously called Jemison to alert administrators about the unauthorized student.

“I thought that would be it,” Reynolds said of the call to Jemison the first day. “Then the second day, she’s back. She’s texting again and enjoying it more. This is happy days are here again. This is like she’s at Disney World.”

On the second day the student was missing from her classes, Reynolds said he called friend Pam Hill, a member of the Huntsville City Schools board of education.

“For the last two days, there has been a student from a private school in one of our high schools every single period,” Hill said at a Jan. 10 school board work session. “Only one teacher caught it on one day in one class. We have a security problem.”

“For real, how can students be in our classes for two days? And then when they got caught, they got expelled from the private school because the private school is who called me,” Hill added.

Finley did not comment on the discrepancy in the two accounts.

As a result of the unauthorized student slipping onto campus, Finley said she plans to require students to wear ID badges similar to those worn by staff and faculty.

“We used to have student ID cards,” Finley said. “We are bringing them back. We have the resources in place to make that happen. Just like we wear a badge every day, students will be wearing a badge every day when they enter that building.”

Finley also said teachers should take attendance in each class daily and make eye contact with each student during the process.

According to Reynolds, he contacted the public high school and Hill out of concern for school safety.

“The reason we did this was because of safety issues,” Reynolds said. “We try to collaborate with the public schools, we have teachers referring to us. This is not a gotcha thing.”

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