My question involves education law in the State of: Missouri
Good Afternoon. I am in need of some advice.
This week my son was suspended from Middle School for 10 days. I received a phone call early afternoon from the asst. principal advising me that my son was in possesion of marajuana and had also used it in the restroom with another student. I was told that by the asst principal that my son left the lunch room and proceeded to the restroom and another student followed him. Within a few minute 2-3 other students entered the restroom and overheard my son and the other student talking about "pot". Again, According the to asst principal the students told a teacher that they could smell pot in the bathroom. The teacher proceed to the restroom with the Janitor. The assistant principal and the DOO/also acting asst vice superintendent were called into the bathroom as the teacher and the janitor were unsure of the smell. All boys involved were searched. They were asked to empty pockets, take of shoes, and so on. During the course of this, many other student came and went through the restroom and were able to view these students being searched. The asst principal told me that he smelled marajuana on my son. He also stated that the the other accused student told him that he did use marajuana with my son and that my son gave it to him. He also stated that my son was being uncooperative and continued to hold his ground and say that he did not use or posess any drugs of any kind. I was told to pick up my son and that he would be suspended for at least a 10 day period and that there would be a hearing that we would have to attend to determine if my son would be allow back in school.
I was furious with my sons actions and of course so far, I had only heard one side of the story. I picked up my son, he was embarassed, angry, sick to his stomach, and so many emotions tied up into one. He and I had a very firm discussion regarding the seriousness of these allegations. He told me that the superintendent (actually it was the DOO/acting assistant superintendent) questioned him over and over about the situation. My son also said that the superintendent told him that he would see to it that my son be "posecuted to the full extent of the law for possession and distribution" if he did not cooperate. My son held his ground and said "I didn't have anything, I never did, I never smoked anything, have me tested" and he was again, angry, humiliated, crying, and so on. So... I did. I took him to a licensed recovery center that offered fairly in-expensive testing. I had them preform a 5Level UA. The Test Results were Negative as I had expected they would be after my conversation with my son.
I contacted the principal of the school the following morning and told her that I would like to have a conference with her, the assistant principal, the superintendent and any other school official who may have been involved. At that time she was unaware of the details of the situation as she was not at school the day of the occurance. She stated that she wasn't available that day or the next, but maybe the day after that she could bring everyone together. I told her that would not work as my son is already failing a required class with an F each of the already past 3 quarters of the year. She told me not to worry about him now failing because he had already be retained once, and he would not be retained again, as in her words "you just don't retain a student twice". She advised me not to tell him that because he would basically not be worried about any class for the rest of the year. She told me that she would call me to set a specific time on thursday. I waited all afternoon tuesday, Wednesday, & another 1 hour Thursday morning with no phone call. On wednesday, I received the official infraction notice from the school which was very very clear that he posessed and used pot. As my son had now missed three days, I had to do something. I went to the school and again the principal was "unavailable". I was offered to speak with the asst vice principal, because he "was" available. I agreed. I sat down in his office and instead of asking me how he could help me, I guess he assummed I needed to hear his side of the story again. However, this time, he left out that he actually smelled it on my son, also said that they weren't 100% sure that marajuana was what they smelled, and that nothing at all was found on any of the boys. No lighter, No matches, No baggies, No cigarettes, no NOTHING. I showed him the drug test results which he did NOT care to see. So now we have No evidence, only another student who "said so" and a clean drug test. I asked that the record be expunged at both the school level and the juvenile court level. The asst principal told me that he would do no such thing after what seemed to be a 3 hour conversation about he said, she said, which is what he feels is probable cause.
So by this time now my sons name and reputation along with my families is being ruined from many different directions. With this record in both the school and the judicial system he will have difficulties finding employment as he is almost 16 (is he supposed to lie on the application and say that he hasn't been charged with a criminal act?), difficulty with his social life, profiled by teachers, police, courts, and so on. And it's unfortunate, but yes that does happen. He want to join the Military when he is finished with high school, but this incident will also hinder his ability for acceptance. The emotional/mental anguish alone is more than he should have to go through. I am confident he did nothing wrong. It is all based on he said, she said. I feel he needs to be represented at both the school hearing and the juvenile hearing and of course it is very expensive and without selling things we cannot afford it within the short period of time we need it.
Is there anyone who can assist us? I am not sure that I could represent him the way he deserves to be. My entire family and I are also extremely emotional about the situation. It is as though he is being pointed out because of his long hair and attitude alongside his attire. He has lost trust with school officials because he feels like no one will ever believe him about anything.
Also can the school or district or individual be sued to have the infraction expunged or removed from record? Removed from his juvenile record? Required to cover court and attorney fees I will encounter? Punitive damages?
Please, any assists is greatly appreciated.