UPDATE: I did this in the comments below, but thought it was worth mentioning up here as well. The students are still eligible to enroll in other JCCC classes for the spring semester -- but not in the nursing program until the fall. They weren't expelled from JCCC itself.


I often weigh questions about how technical terminology and jargon from various professions are reported in news stories. The Star is aimed at the general population, and we lay readers often don't understand the differentiation between words that may sound synonymous to us while having very different meanings to specialists in certain disciplines.

A good case in point: The Star and KansasCity.com ran a story late last month about four Johnson County Community College students who were dismissed from the school's nursing program after one posted a photo on Facebook of herself posing with a human placenta used in a classroom exercise.

The problem, according to the JCCC Information and Publications department was with the headlines and body text, which used the word "expelled."

The students were temporarily dismissed from the nursing program, but not expelled from the school. They may re-apply to the nursing program in August of this year if they like, but may take other courses in different programs at the college.

This is one of those cases where I don't think most of us realize there's a difference -- but in the milieu of the college, I agree it's an important distinction. I've fixed the story online, and there will be a clarification in print. (I'd originally written it'll be tomorrow, but there's one more T I need to cross with JCCC first.) The case is ongoing too, of course, and the Metro desk should definitely follow up on the student's upcoming federal court injunction hearing.