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ONLY ON 3: School system won’t allow teen to enroll


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Pender County family says the school system closed the book on their nephew entering the school system because of an episode from two years ago in California.

"Honestly my life was going downhill ever since I was a little kid,” said Marco Olmeda.

As a 12-year-old Olmeda was expelled from school and faced a number of felony and misdemeanor charges after being caught tagging private and public property with graffiti.

Olmeda’s aunt and uncle decided to move him across the country and into their Pender County home to give the teen a second chance.

"I just wanted to have a change in my life so I wouldn't be a person that's dead or in prison,” said Olmeda.

Samantha Lopez, the teen’s aunt, says her family has welcomed the teen in with open arms but Trask High School and the Pender County School System has closed the door on her nephew due to his previous expulsion in California.

"It kind of made me feel like they didn't want him,” said Samantha Lopez. “I haven't had really any problems with the child. He just needs parental guidance and somebody there to spend time with him and show him hey you can do this."

At home Lopez and her husband have been encouraging to their nephew by taking him bowling and fishing, two things he had never experienced before.

However, if Olmeda isn’t allowed into school by the end of the semester he could be sent back to California to live in a foster home for violating his probation.

"It will help me straighten my life out and I wouldn't be cooped up anymore,” said Olmeda. “I would be able to communicate with people and socialize. I just want to have an education so I can live my life fully.

A Pender County School’s spokeswoman said that she couldn’t tell WWAY why Olmeda isn’t allowed in school because she couldn’t give out student information.

We explained to her that Olmeda was not yet a student, but we still have yet to receive an explanation.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


According to NC law Pender

According to NC law Pender County Schools is well within its rights to refuse admittance to any student who is under suspension or expulsion in another school district. It is at their discretion whether or not to allow this student admittance. They have an obligation to protect their property.

Pender County doesn't care about these kids!

I know Samantha personally, and she has kids of her own they are doing good in school. Pender County doesn't care as long as it is benefiting to them. My kids go to school their and it has been a living nightmare for me each and everyday. As you can see you can't contact the superintendent of Pender County. She hides behind everything. I feel if the kid wants to do better and get back in school he should be given a chance. That is why we have so many drop outs and kids not finishing school. Samantha keep fighting and someone will hear you out. You know a lot of people. Someone will wanna help.

WTG Pender County

NC is already a$$ backwards & Pender County just proves it. Give the kid a 2nd chance!

"Kind of" ?

"It kind of made me feel like they didn't want him,” said Samantha Lopez."

Kind of?

Move trouble around

I have seen this before. A kid gets into trouble and the parents send them somewhere else. I would agree with Pender county and think that once his expulsion is over turned in California then they should rethink their decision.

what does this mean "faced a number of felony and misdemeanor charges" does this mean he hasn't been to court yet? I also find this interesting "However, if Olmeda isn’t allowed into school by the end of the semester he could be sent back to California to live in a foster home for violating his probation." Did he leave California without permission?

A Question or 2

If he returns to California, it's reported he goes to a foster home. For violating his probation.

Where were his parents 2 years ago when he was convicted of these felony charges? And remember, felony charges would indicate some issue more serious than throwing a rock through a window or using spray paint on a wall. And apparently, there were multiple charges.

Where are his parents now?

He's apparently on probation. Has he been assigned a Pender County based probation officer? Perhaps that person can assist in getting him into school.

Why now? The school year is nearly over. The County may have a valid position that he should start in September. Was he involved in something which prompted a mid-year relocation?

What if he has a relapse? Resumes his inappropriate behavior. That puts the school on the line and student parents howling for someone's scalp.

No offence to the aunt and uncle; they appear to be taking a Christian approach to this.

But, there are a whole lot of other issues to be considered.


Perhaps a conditional acceptance can be made? No incidents of tagging (assuming this is the only concern) to allow him a chance to demonstrate his sincerity. As a society, when we cease to give someone a second chance on what is at best a misdemeanor, we are not showing our best as a community. A felony offense would be understandable to deny access but not this. Just my 3 cents.

Read the story

"As a 12-year-old Olmeda was expelled from school and faced a number of felony and misdemeanor charges"

That says FELONY and misdemeanor charges. That's more than just some childish pranks.

It is called FERPA!

It is called FERPA! Regardless if the child is enrolled, they are NOT ALLOWED to give out any information.

Not allowed?

How convenient.

pender school

This is pretty bad. I understand the kid got in trouble but it was painting not violent behavior. His Aunt has given him a home and a chance why cant we? He is 15 years old, just a kid. Wont Pender even give him a chance to prove he is capable? You cant tell me that there are no kids in Pender schools who are worse offenders.


"I just want to have an education so I can live my life fully."

And people wanted to have nice stuff before you tagged it with your "art work."

Let this be a life lesson, Olmeda. Crime does not pay it forward.

Expulsion is a serious

Expulsion is a serious thing. Obviously, the whole story has not been told. The school system cannot comment on anything because it is against the law to disclose most information. People know this ans manipulate the media. If he was expelled, and PCS won't let him enroll, you can believe it is for a serious reason.

Expulsion might be a serious

Expulsion might be a serious thing, but it does not take a serious offense to get expelled. You can be arrested for chewing a Pop Tart in the shape of a gun or or saying "pow" with a chicken strip.

that may be

but those acts do not result in felony arrests.


just put him in a charter school they are better thsn public and not as judgementsl

Charter Won't Take Him

Charters typically put in their charter that they are not for students who are below average or have discipline problems. In this way, they can legally refuse who they will. NC public schools regulations say the child goes to school where his parent or legal guardian is domiciled. These folks are aunt and uncle. In addition, a child convicted of a felony is out 365 days regardless. I have heard in the past that NH county refused admission to a juvenile murderer from another state. I have also heard it said that gangs came into NC when a parent from NY sent a child in a gang to live with an aunt. Pender is correct in refusing admission.


If he did it in California, he will do the same thing here. Don't enroll him Pender School System.

Illegal immigrant comment in

Illegal immigrant comment in 4...3...2...1...

no he isnt

Just to let everyone know he is a us citizen just like you and me.
But anyways what does that matter. Everyone makes mistakes and its not
Like there isnt some of the kids that go there havent made a mistake
Or two buy they all get second chances so why cant olmeda.

Glad you brought that up

Glad you brought that up steve, if he is illegal as you say, that would be the felony they are speaking up, in this case I say deport him, and his entire family, we have enough trouble makers in this country without taking on other countrys rif raff

The shame

Its incredible to still hear ppl like you saying things like tht, as how I see you have no class on how to speak in a mild manner, even if he was illegal (which I do understand you're basing it off tht) do you need to call him "riff raff" this is a young boy we we're talking about, if you dont respect race at least keep in mind on age.