Thursday, March 17, 2011

School Prank Leads To Suspension And Drug Charges Against Boy

In a sign that some zero-tolerance policies may be out of control, a Virginia middle-school has suspended an honor student for possession of oregano.

The Rutherford Institute insists Adam Grass was little more than an innocent bystander to a school prank that has landed him a 10-day suspension for "possession of an imitation controlled substance" -- and that decision by Hickory Middle School could haunt the student for years to come, says Institute president John Whitehead.

"It's just another crazy zero-tolerance case that makes zero sense," he says. "If this charge sticks, for the rest of his life he will have a drug charge against him."

The long-term ramifications, says the attorney, could be quite damaging. "He will not be a member of the National Honor Society. If he wants to attend West Point, he will never be able to go," says the Rutherford president. "...The schools are not taking into [account]...what the long-term effects are on these students -- and they can be devastating."

Whitehead explains that another male student brought a plastic bag of oregano to school and jokingly said it resembled marijuana. At one point, Adam was given the Italian herb and asked to return it to the owner -- and because of that, Whitehead says, he has been lumped in with the two other students who were suspended.

"Under most state laws they have leeway -- [but] for some reason school officials are not taking that leeway," laments the attorney. "In fact, most laws say that in particular instances they can take a hold of the facts, study them, and if it doesn't really apply to this child, they don't have to do anything. And here, everybody [at school] knew it was oregano."

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