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William Floyd High senior who defied hybrid plan suspended for the entire school year

William Floyd High School senior Maverick Stow leaves

William Floyd High School senior Maverick Stow leaves the Suffolk County police Seventh Precinct last Thursday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Maverick Stow, the student who repeatedly defied William Floyd High School's hybrid learning plan by showing up at school, has been suspended from school grounds for the 2020-21 term and blocked from attending his prom and graduation, according to the superintendent's decision.

Superintendent Kevin Coster said in his decision that Stow, 17, a senior, was suspended through June 30, though the suspension can be revisited in January. Stow's instruction would come from virtual tutors and online teaching, said the decision, detailed in a two-page letter dated Tuesday and obtained by Newsday from the teen's mother, Nora Kaplan-Stow.

"He will not be permitted on our grounds or attend any school-sponsored events during his suspension," said the decision, which followed a hearing Monday. "This includes all senior extracurricular events, senior prom and high school graduation."

Stow declined to comment Tuesday and referred questions to his attorney, Christopher Ross of Patchogue, who criticized the superintendent's decision as heavy-handed and wrong.

"The school's punishment for a student exercising his First Amendment right, in his eyes, and for wanting to go to school, is to remove him from school," Ross said. " … We thought cooler heads would prevail."

Stow can appeal the decision, which the superintendent said would be revisited at the end of January.

Districts Islandwide have altered their in-person teaching plans, adding remote instruction, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision marked the latest development in the escalating showdown between the district and Stow, who was to attend school in-person two days a week. He began his protest Sept. 8, the first day of classes, by showing up despite it being one of his scheduled days for remote learning. He was issued a five-day suspension.

He returned to school the following day, last Wednesday, and school officials warned him that he faced criminal charges the next time.

On Thursday, Stow returned again and was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal trespassing.

"We have zero tolerance for suspended students or unauthorized people trying to enter our buildings to disrupt the educational process and/or to potentially cause an unsafe environment for our students and staff," said school district spokesman James Montalto in a statement Tuesday.

Stow understood that he might face repercussions when he launched his protest, Ross said. Stow has said he believes students should attend five days a week and that the school can find a way to safely make that happen.

The superintendent's decision said Stow was guilty of insubordinate behavior, defying the lawful authority of school personnel, attempting to enter a school building without authorization, and failing to comply with the school's reopening plan.

If, when the decision is revisited in January, Stow has continued his studies successfully, is passing all his courses, and doesn't violate the school code of conduct, officials will consider allowing him to attend classes and enjoy senior privileges such as the prom and graduation, the decision said.

Stow and his family are considering their next step, Ross said. The teen's next appearance in juvenile court is Sept 24.

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