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Grundy County School Board's investigative oversight committee met with the board during a board meeting at Grundy County High School on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017.

UPDATE: Grundy County school board members elected Phyllis Lusk as chairwoman during their meeting tonight.

Vice Chairman Paul Gallagher had been serving as the school board chairman.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Grundy County school board members are expected to elect a new school board chairman during their board meeting tonight.

Former chairman Robert Foster resigned on Nov. 21 after 12 years on the board amid growing animosity among fellow board members and the director of schools. 

His resignation came during an investigation of an attempted aggravated rape at Grundy County High School and the vandalism of a school board member's vehicle.

Also to be discussed and voted on is a proposed update to the elementary and high school's handbooks.

Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey made the recommendation to add some wording under the schools' zero tolerance policy during last month's board meeting. She said the modification was necessary for the handbook to be in line with state laws.

The district's zero tolerance policy applies to students who have committed certain offenses, which include possession of a weapon or illegal substances, battery and/or sexual battery, including rape or attempted rape. Punishment listed for those offenses is suspension of up to one year but may also include expulsion.

Kinsey said a statement needs to be included that says the director of schools has the authority to modify the consequences on a case-by-case basis.

As it's worded now, the handbook simply says the schools have a zero tolerance policy and makes mention that the director may evaluate expulsions on a case-by-case basis, but those statements are not on the correct page, Kinsey said.

The five students who are accused of attempting to rape their freshman teammate with the metal handle of a dust mop have not been expelled. They were placed on house arrest and assigned "homebound education," as of latest reports before a judge placed a non-disclosure order on the case, preventing anyone from discussing any details.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

Grundy County school district stories

This story was updated Dec. 4 at 7:35 p.m. with more information.

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