Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

March 20, 2014

Decade old charge keeps parent from chaperoning

CENTERVILLE — A Centerville mother was upset to find out a 10 year old simple misdemeanor conviction kept her from being an official chaperone on a school jazz band trip her daughter is partaking in.

Tina Long-Collins was even more upset to find out she was never given a chance to defend her position in front of the school board, or even the superintendent who ultimately stopped her volunteer application without passing it on to the school board.

That jazz band is scheduled to leave Friday, April 4 for the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire and will return Sunday, April 6. The trip will also include a stop at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Long said during a phone interview with the Daily Iowegian that she’s still going on the trip regardless, just not as a chaperone. She will travel on her own rather than traveling with the students in school vehicles on the band trip, as an official chaperone.

What caused a red flag on Collins’ background check was an assault conviction from 2004, a simple misdemeanor charge.

According to the complaint and affidavit filed in 2004 that was obtained by the Daily Iowegian, Collins was charged for punching a former boyfriend, causing a minor red mark on his cheek. The affidavit confirms that Collins was attempting to get her former boyfriend to leave her home.

Collins said she admitted to throwing the punch to police, which the affidavit also noted.

“It was me protecting my house and my kid,” Collins said. “I could have it expunged from my record, but why should I have to alter my past? What happened 10 years ago has made me the person I am today. Why should I hide that? I’m not ashamed of it.”

According to Collins, superintendent Tony Ryan decided due to the past charge, there was no reason for him to pass her volunteer form on to the school board for consideration.

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