Blavity REPORT — Josh Crayton had four months left until his graduation when he found himself holding expulsion papers instead of a cap and gown. Now, there's a petition circulating to get Crayton back in school.
Saint Ignatius High School expelled the senior for claims that he raised his voice at Alexandria Miranda, an English teacher while discussing a few late assignments. Miranda, allegedly acted dismissive towards Crayton, during a conversation about his school work.
"She began to get very frustrated and loud about the whole thing and told me that she wasn’t discussing this anymore," the Cleveland, Ohio, resident told Blavity in an interview.
It was at this point his mother, Ronda Crayton intervened and requested a meeting. Her request for a meeting was never honored, however, according to the mom. The family was unaware that Miranda had already filed a disciplinary complaint towards Crayton claiming that he raised his voice on Friday, Dec. 15.
"Josh and I had not been informed prior to Monday, Dec. 18, that Mrs. Miranda submitted a complaint," Ronda told Blavity. "I was also not aware of a meeting with the principal or [if] were we invited to the review hearing. A notice was mailed to our home requesting that I withdraw my son from school immediately. We later filed an appeal on Jan. 18, that was denied on Jan. 29, by the president of the school."
Blavity reached out to Lisa Metro, Saint Ignatius' director of communications, who said the school was unable to comment on student's disciplinary actions. She provided the following statement:
"Saint Ignatius High School cannot comment on student disciplinary issues. Regarding infractions, we have a series of potential disciplinary actions including suspension, withdrawal or expulsion, depending on the circumstances and recommendations of the Disciplinary Review Board. Each case is carefully considered and evaluated."
Josh's sister took it upon herself to share on social media the injustice she feels her brother is facing by the school. She wrote in the tweet, that the teacher said she felt "threatened," by Crayton.
Saint Ignatius is a private Roman Catholic, Jesuit high school. On page 42 of the student handbook, it states that dismissal from school is used as the last resort during serious misconduct that hinders the safety of other students. In addition, it says that the school has the right to vary its procedures depending on the circumstance.
Crayton says he feels upset about how the situation is turning out, especially when he believes that "raising your voice" isn't grounds for expulsion.
"It bothers me that other students have gotten away with yelling at the same teacher, selling drugs at school, smoking in the school and I got asked to withdraw because 'I yelled at a teacher,'" he said. "I’m sorry she took it the way she did but that wasn’t my intention. My intentions were to discuss some assignments that she graded, not to come off as loud or rude."
Several people have shown support for Crayton since the incident became public knowledge. The #LetCraytonStay began trending on Twitter.
Even alumni of the school are speaking up on the behalf of Crayton.
According to Ronda, she has her concerns about whether this being a racially-fueled decision.
"I have my concerns about this being a racial matter. Several white students have done much more horrendous things and have been able to not only remain at Saint Ignatius but have graduated with their class," she explained. "All of these incidents are well documented and so many people are reaching out and coming out with examples of these kinds of stories. It appears that there is some disparity."
As for Josh, he hopes to get back to school as soon as possible so he can successfully graduate with the class of 2018.
"I am hoping to work with St. Ignatius for a positive outcome for everyone," his mom said. "I have offered several compromises, however, it has all fallen on deaf ears and has forced me to seek legal counsel."
Crayton has big dreams for his future. He hopes to successful graduate and attend the United States Air Force Academy. His petition already has over 1,500 signatures.