“I’m so happy she’s back. It was so sad when she was gone,” said senior Lita Hernandez, who has known Danielle since seventh grade. “She had no right to leave. She’s not a dangerous person.” Zolozabal caught up Brinkman on the music they’ve been singing in choir. “I missed her a lot,” said Zolozabal, who has shared choir classes with Brinkman for six years. “It was really odd. I felt alone.” Looking back, Superintendent Maria Ott said she’s not sure whether she would make the same decision again, but the seriousness of the offense –possession of a knife — required reassigning Brinkman to another school. Following state education code, possession of a dangerous object is grounds for expulsion, according to Ott. The county board members voted 4-3 to overturn the district’s decision, but Ott said the split decision is not a compelling reason for the district to change its policy or procedures regarding student discipline. Board member Albert Chang said he disagrees with the county’s decision. Student discipline depends on the seriousness of the offense, not academic record, he said. “I still think the district did the right thing by expelling a student. I support our decision,” he said. “If you look at who the county board members are, they aren’t elected. They’re political appointees … (They don’t) necessarily stand for what our district stands for. Our district stands for safety for our students.” Board member Judy Nieh said the district always looks for ways to improve, and this case brings an opportunity to let students know that if they accidentally bring something dangerous to school they have the option of telling an administrator or a teacher. Esther Chou can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2513, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week When school started in the fall, she enrolled at Nogales High School, another comprehensive high school in the district, with the expectation that she could return to Rowland at the start of the second semester in late January. Her parents, Keith and Anita Brinkman, said it was an accident and Danielle — who has a good academic and discipline record — didn’t deserve the severe punishment. Last week, the Los Angeles County Board of Education overturned the school district’s expulsion decision, allowing Brinkman to return to Rowland High School sooner. For the Brinkmans, who have appeared on television news and the radio, Danielle’s return to Rowland High School was the happy ending they had hoped for. “This is where I’ve been. This is where I’m supposed to go,” Danielle said. “I’m happy it’s over. I can go back to school, get on with my life.” Keith and Anita Brinkman were elated, snapping photos commemorating their daughter’s first day back. ROWLAND HEIGHTS — Although classes started several weeks ago, Monday was the first day of school for Rowland High School senior Danielle Brinkman. Brinkman greeted her friends before her first class of the day. “I woke up late today,” she told Kim Zolozabal, a friend from the school choir. “I got up at 5.” Brinkman, 17, was expelled for bringing a folding pocket knife to school in June. She uses the knife at her job at Albertson’s supermarket and accidentally brought it to school after leaving it in the pocket of her pants.