School pretends boy's leaf is marijuana, suspends him for a year

One thing I never understood is… how is it legal for someone to prevent a kid from going to school for a year? For whatever reason. Isn’t there an obligation to provide education for the child, just like the parents are obliged to either send the children to school or home-school them?

(also, are there still truancy officers who go after kids who are not in school during school hours? if so, does this kid get to tell them to leave him alone?) (I admit I only know about truancy officers from movies and comics)


They’re hardly “waste”, they’re delicious. A perfectly legitimate green to enjoy raw or cooked.

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A school can only legally keep a kid out of their school. There’s a lot of legal grey area with schools having leeway to decide what makes “a good environment” for the children there. They see their obligation as to provide that environment and maybe let a certain kid participate in it, if they fit in and the family agrees to the terms. The other grey area is that, if a municipality is perceived as having some obligation to provide public education in any case - how do they reconcile the kid’s “fit” in their environment? Usually by having a backup plan of “special education” which tends to not be great. Basically, this school the OP is about can only keep a kid out for a year if they are still enrolled there.

Exactly, one has to wonder. If the kid is still technically enrolled, but told not to attend - then what amount of this obligation falls back onto the family?

These days, truancy officers (at least in my area) spend most of their time chasing families to check their residency. The town where I am regularly has families from nearby towns trying to fake residency through family members to enrol kids here. Most harassment of families is more likely to occur if social services get involved for some reason. Then they have reason to verify if the kid might be deprived. There are lots of possible options from public schools, private schools, home schooling, tutoring, etc. Generally it seems that families mostly suffer scrutiny for this if they are already having other problems. Or if the kid is wandering around during normal school hours.

I believe there was some kind of tutoring/homeschooling arrangement involved.

On truancy officers: Our neighbor’s son was having severe anxiety issues and refusing to go to school for a time, so I can verify that, at least around here, they really do send the truancy officer out looking for you – even if there’s a known issue. I heard that the officer was very nice, but I always wondered whether sending an LEO to the house, even a very nice one, would do a lot to reduce anxiety.

Policies that intentionally target the poor provide safe harbor for racists to exercise their bigotry in any community where poverty is unequally distributed along racial divides. This is not only evident in the US school system, but also in places like Ferguson, MO. The policies are not inherently racist; they are classist - but due to the realities of wealth and income distribution, they primarily victimize people of color, even when enforcement is done by “black” officers. It creates a happy hunting ground for racists, since their perfectly legal actions aren’t significantly different in outcome from the actions of non-racist enforcement.


Depending, of course, on how one chooses to define “wealth”.

Just a quick correction: this actually occurred in Bedford, VA, not in Roanoke, VA as the brackets indicate. I actually grew up in Bedford County and now live in Roanoke. They are close but Bedford is much more rural and about 30 minutes from Roanoke. My little brother went through the Bedford Co. school system and I have nothing but awful things to say about it.

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My oldest boy just started kindergarten this year. We have Krampus at Christmas (my partner is from Austria), and a kid on the bus, when learning this, spent the next couple of months trying to convert my kid to fundamentalist Christianity, telling him he was going to hell and such. Last week my kid came home with a note to us about his bad behavior at school. He’d written “willie” and “poop” in his journal. And every day I hear about how much TV they watch, and about how he gets to use the teacher’s computer to play a game when he’s finished his work. They’re warehousing my kid. But we can’t afford private school or home schooling, because we need to incomes to get by. We’re trying to get my partner teaching at one of the magnets in the next county so that our kids can attend those schools. Oh, and no surprise: we live in Alabama.


That based on what the school administrators said. After reading about this I’m not sure we should take their word for it.

Is this kind of like getting added to the BoingBoing spreadsheet?

No one ever pays attention to your permanent record…

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It was a High School, not a College or University. The tight-asses go into HS administration and coach, and the stoners write dissertations.


I think people are missing the critical ROANOKE, VA angle. As a kid in Alabama, I had a friend who was the bad seed at the Christian private school he attended (I believe he was forced by his parents, who assumed the place would be good for him). He used to get crap just for having a Judas Priest album in his locker.

Also, you know … I’ve never smoked pot in my life, but even I know you don’t just light a leaf on fire to do it.

Quebec’s got this one-upped. They strip-searched a 15-year-old girl and, upon finding no drugs, expelled her.

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In this context I’ll define wealth as being unusually large numbers of virtualized greenish papers emblazoned with the visages of dead presidents. These virtual portraits of obsolete white men being functionally interchangeable with political power, although actually intended to represent abstract value within an economic system, and enumerated by agencies that often operate above and outside the rule of law, called “banks”.

This is the tragedy of the commons at work; every parent will do the best they can for their children, and often that will mean doing the worst thing for society. Your child’s presence in the public school system enriches the lives of the other children, and increases the likelihood of those others growing into the kind of people that could reject the system that’s harming your child, and build something better. When nobody is left in the public feeder schools but the children of people who are ignorant and/or powerless, the trend continues downward. It’s happening all around me, right now, in the Delaware school systems. The (very politically incorrect) way that activists phrase this is “magnet, private and charter schools ‘skim the cream off the top’ and leave the children who already have less opportunity at home with an inferior educational environment, perpetuating cycles of racism and poverty and reversing the gains of the Civil Rights movements of the 60s.”

I am not on that spreadsheet, which makes me disappointed with bOINGbOING.

Holy carp. Quebec wins! For the moment, anyway. I’m not sure there’s any bottom to this race to the bottom.

In the strip search, the girl was asked to remove all her clothing, including her underwear. No drugs were found.
The mother said she was particularly upset about not being called before or after her daughter was strip-searched.
In response to the controversy, Premier Philippe Couillard said there would be no more strip searches in schools, except in extreme cases where police deem it necessary.

So apparently this policy was formerly considered acceptable in cases that were not extreme, when it was not deemed necessary? But now, thanks to Couillard, it’ll only be OK whenever a cop says he desires to grope our naked daughters? Gee, what an improvement!


Yes indeed. It absolutely is. And the classical alternative trope used to introduce this to undergraduates is Garrett Hardin’s lifeboat. Both assume an economy of scarcity, which is the dominant approach to everything in our neoliberal climate. But, for me, with my child, the better metaphor is the binding of Isaac, and I’ve no plans to sacrifice my child.

And, of course, there’s nothing politically correct about any of this; I prefer to talk about “skimming the cream,” especially as that also gets race privilege into the issue. I console myself with my work for under-served students at the HBCU at which I teach, and I have been planning this morning to make a run for the school board once I get tenure and can risk that sort of thing, but it’s been a revelation to me how thin principle and ideals seem against my children’s well-being. It’s no wonder that “think of the children!” has been such an effective means of social control.


It seems it wasn’t the kid who had a problem distinguishing fantasy from reality…



Her punishment continues. Now they claim that they believe she had been selling pot for months. I’m sure the public evidence for this is forthcoming.

I fear for my young son’s future where we have schools that can act as police and courts without the (minimal) oversight those would offer. The ability to punish someone for no good reason, with no evidence, and possibly/probably maliciously is horrendous.

I’m not a huge fan of authority without accountability, to the point of it sometimes causing me trouble when pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. I will however fight any kind of shenanigans my son encounters as a result of authoritarianism in his schooling. I’ve warned my wife I may try to join the PTA as a voice of reason (this made he laugh :smiley: )

  • Of course I still plan on teaching my son to be a good person and not an entitled dinkus :smirk:

Maybe they did believe that, and maybe they have great reasons to expel her that they aren’t publishing. They still strip searched a 15-year-old. The person/people who actually conducted the strip search should be criminally charged.

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