Long Term Suspension not the best punishment in every case

Wake County Public Schools

Sponsored by: 

Parents and Tax Payers Wake County

Conner is suspended for a first offense of possession of marijuana and intent to distribute seeds to another student which is based on a text message and that student’s written statement that he asked for them and was going to get these seeds and grow and sell pot. Conner is suspended long term based on his intent even though he never actually gave the seeds and the evidence is based on a text message. The quanity (about 9 seeds) was not even close to an amount considered distributing.  Conner is a 15 year old boy and has not been suspended this year and had been asked for over a week to get the seeds which constitutes consipracy then all of a sudden an informant tells the administrator and Conner is pulled out of class and searched (his person, cell phone ect.) because there was a text message at 6 am and another at 603 am asking for seeds and Conner replied "k" because he was asleep and wanted to stop the messages there was a 3rd text at 738 to which he ignored again because he was at school and had seeds he could have replied if he intended to give them. Conner saw the student numerous times before his search at 11:30 that morning and he had not given them. He has been and is punished but getting kicked out of school for 6 months is not the correct punishment.  Conner also had inappropriate images of his girlfriend on his cell phone.  All horrendous and all his choice but not worth his future.

6429.2

 

When a first infraction does not involve the distribution, sale, possession with intent to distribute or sell, or conspiracy or attempt to distribute or sell a substance prohibited by this policy, an alternative to long-term suspension shall be offered.  This alternative shall be offered only one time to students during their school career unless an exception is made by the superintendent.  The alternative shall consist of a ten (10) school day suspension (five (5) day suspension for students on 4-by-4 block schedule) and shall also require participation in a corrective education and/or counseling program. The program shall be designed by the superintendent and agreed to in writing by the parent, guardian, student, and school principal.  Parents, guardians, and students shall be provided information by school authorities concerning approved alternative programs.  Failure to meet any requirements of the alternative program reactivates the long-term suspension

 

 

Conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit almost any unlawful act.

 

We are appealing long term suspension based on the fact that a decision was made to suspend Conner long term on possession, Intent to distribute, even though there is a written statement on record from another student along with the text messages they are using as basis for evidence against Conner that this student intended to grow and sell for a profit the controlled substance  According to the Assistant Principal the basis for long term is this policy to which he treats every student exactly the same and goes strictly by the policy. Therefore we feel Conner should benefit from the alternative that would consist of a ten (10) school day suspension (five (5) day suspension for students on 4-by-4 block schedule) and shall also require participation in a corrective education and/or counseling program which we already placed him in because it was not offerred or suggested by the school.

 

The evidence from the phone search should not even be admissible based on policy 6600.1 Personal Searches- A student's person and/or personal effects (e.g. purse, book bag, etc.) may be searched

whenever a school authority has reasonable suspicion to believe that the student is in possession of illegal or unauthorized materials. There is no reasonable suspicion that drugs are being kept on his phone? The basis for searching his cell phone was not reasonable in this case and why his messages were forwarded to the administrators cell phone are beyond comprehension all together. 

            According to the American Psychological Association long term suspension is ineffective in reducing overall school violence and instead increases school drop out rates . Students are disconnected and this leads to long term shame , alienation and rejection while failing to sieze the opportunity to teach them the effects their actions have on others as well as responsibilty,trust and respect for authority.

North Carolina students lost about 1 million instructional days to out-of-school suspensions during the school year, according to the Department of Public Instruction. And schools with high suspension rates often have low achievement.

The state defines a long-term suspension as anything that lasts for 11 days or longer. Wake goes further by saying that they'll run the rest of the school year.

Presented by Jane R. Wettach

Director, Duke Children’s Law Clinic

NCSBA School Law Academy

March 26, 2009

n  Suspension increases, rather than decreases, the likelihood of future misbehavior for the suspended student.  Students typically feel anger, not remorse, after a suspension.  Studies show an increase in delinquent behavior during and after periods of out-of-school suspension.

 

Target:

Wake County Public Schools

 

Links

www.law.duke.edu/childedlaw/schooldiscipline/.../school-law-academy2009.ppt

 

www.newsobserver.com/news/education/story/258497.html

 

http://www.legalaidnc.org/public/learn/Statewide_Projects/ACS/ACS_Publications/TheSchool-to-PrisonPipelineInWakeCo_IssueBrief_ACS_Dec2009.pdf


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