Society

Dad Says Daughter was Suspended From School for Writing About Marijuana

| by Michael Allen

Tom Grayhorse claims that his 17-year-old daughter Krystal was suspended from Buffalo High School in Missouri for more than half a year because she wrote about marijuana in her journal.

Grayhorse says that his daughter was originally suspended for 10 days on May 9, but that turned into a suspension for the rest of 2014.

After Krystal's journal was discovered by school officials, the teen was suspended for "possession of a controlled substance," Grayhorse told the News-Leader.

"Her 'possession' constitutes writing something?" stated Grayhorse. "That is the alleged possession? She does write fiction stories. She likes to write. It could have been part of a story."

"She had nothing on her or with her or in her backpack or anything. There was no cannabis," Grayhorse told KSPR.

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After her suspension, Krystal lost the credits that she needed for graduation.

Dallas County Superintendent Robin Ritchie told the News-Journal, "Anything that's drug-related or alcohol-related, we are going to have zero tolerance. The end goal is to provide the student and the family with the resources if they need help."

"There are lots of sides," Ritchie stated. "The school's side is we always take drug and alcohol offenses seriously and they are fully investigated."

"[Writing about marijuana] would only constitute an investigation further. We certainly wouldn't discipline based just on something in writing," Ritchie told KSPR.

The Dallas County School Board met Monday night, then had a conference with Grayhorse privately, but didn't lift the suspension, which stays in effect until Jan. 5, 2015.

Grayhorse claims Krystal didn't have the drugs, even though the teen reportedly admitted to a school official that she did.

"She'd confess to almost anything, within reason, just to get [the questioning] over with. Somehow she allegedly had some [marijuana]. And she ate it and swallowed it and that took care of it and it was gone. So they didn't find anything on her. They did not test her," Grayhorse told KSPR.

"Legally this is hearsay. Because nobody has an object they can pull out and say, 'This is the marijuana,'" said Grayhorse.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1969 in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines that all students have a right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment and that students do not "shed their constitutional rights... at the schoolhouse gate." In that case, students expressed their opposition to the Vietnam War.

Sources: KSPR, News-Leader, USCourts.gov (Image Credit: Alison Wood)