Target: Dr. Doug Shuch, Bedford County Superintendent of Schools
Goal: Demand wrongly suspended boy be let back into school and be justly compensated.
An 11-year-old boy was unjustly suspended from school for 364 days because administrators thought he was in possession of marijuana. In reality, the boy, whose name has not been disclosed, merely had a leaf that resembled marijuana and a small lighter. The school officer who tested the leaf and found that it was harmless then went on to file drug possession charges against the boy in juvenile court. This terribly sad series of events has made the boy’s life extremely difficult and something must be done to get him justice.
Before being suspended, the boy was part of his middle school’s program for gifted students. He was said to be outgoing and fun-loving. Since being suspended however, the boy has been experiencing things that no child should be forced to endure, including: panic attacks, social anxiety, visiting a pediatric psychologist, and being torn from his friends. Middle school is an important time in childhood development and, because of one terrible school officer with some kind of grudge, this poor boy is being excluded from it.
Upon finding out that the leaf was just a leaf, the juvenile court dropped the possession charges against him, but the school district did not immediately reinstate him or compensate him for time lost and possible psychological damages. They merely offered up the totally unacceptable “compromise” of letting him attend an alternative schooling program for “problem” children.
This boy must be reinstated immediately, his family must be reimbursed for any and all bills that came from this heinous abuse of power, and the superintendent must issue a formal and public apology. Please sign here to ensure that this wrong does not ruin the life of an innocent boy.
Dear Superintendent Shuch,
An 11-year-old boy in your school district was suspended for an entire year for possessing marijuana and a lighter at school. The only issue here is that he did not have any marijuana and there is absolutely no evidence to prove that he did. He did have a leaf which, when tested by your school officers, showed itself to be nothing more than a regular leaf. Those officers then went on to press criminal charges against this boy. Something stinks here, Mr. Shuch, and it smells like abuse of power.
I am writing to demand that the school district immediately right this heinous wrong by doing three simple things. Firstly, the boy must be allowed back into his old school immediately and be given as much private assistance as is needed for him to catch up to his peers. Secondly, I demand that the boy’s family be full reimbursed for any bills or fees, past, present, and future. Finally, I demand that you offer the boy a full and public apology.
Even if this boy had had one single marijuana leaf, do you really believe it is worth ruining his life to teach him some sort of moral lesson? All you have accomplished so far is stunting his emotional, social, and intellectual growth. Is that justice? You be the judge.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Iwan Gabovitch via Wikimedia Commons