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BLYTHEWOOD (May 26, 2016) –  Confusion about whether an abstention counts as a “yes” in a tie vote meant that an expelled student’s fate was left dangling until the very end of the Fairfield County School Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday night.
Expulsion proceedings were initiated against two of three students involved in a fight on the school campus March 7. The expulsions were later upheld by the District Hearing Officer David Corley. Parents of one of those students subsequently requested an appeal hearing before the Board Tuesday night. During the meeting Superintendent Dr. J. R. Green made a recommendation that the Board deny the request for an appeal.
“The recommended action is that the Board accept the superintendent’s recommendation and not hear that appeal,” Chairwoman Beth Reid (District 7) told the Board, asking for a motion. Board Vice Chair Rev. Carl Jackson, Jr., (District 5) put forward the motion, which, after a long silence, was seconded by Henry Miller (District 3).
Reid immediately called for a vote without any discussion since this was a student issue. After the 3-3-1 vote, Board member Annie McDaniel (District 4) asked that Reid call the vote again.
“The vote was three for the superintendent’s recommendation, three opposed and one abstention,” Reid said.
Approving the recommendation were Reid, Jackson, and Miller; opposed were Board members William Frick (District 6), Paula Hartman (District 2) and McDaniel. Sylvia Harrison (District 1) abstained.
“So the Board will not hear the appeal of the student,” Reid concluded.
What happens when it is 3, 3, and 1?” Hartman asked.
Reid responded that abstentions count as a ‘yes’ according to Roberts Rules of Order.
“That’s not accurate,” McDaniel objected. “Not for purposes of carrying the order.”
Reid repeated that abstentions count