Kicked out of school for smoking pot
Oct 3, 2013 / 7:57 am
A group of Chilliwack teenagers have been kicked out of school for the rest of the semester after breaking curfew and smoking pot on a soccer trip last month.
Twelve students from Sardis Secondary School were initially handed the extended suspensions after a teacher smelled marijuana in their hotel room during a weekend tournament in Surrey.
Parent Derrik Middleton said he was shocked by the severity of the punishment handed down on his son Zac, and appealed to the district to reconsider.
“None of the parents condone what happened. We’re not happy about it obviously, but we don’t think the boys should have been [suspended],” Middleton told CTV News.
“A lot of them are honour roll students and they’re top-notch kids.”
The district ordered the teenagers to be transferred to other schools within Chilliwack, but told them they were welcome to re-enroll next semester.
District superintendent Evelyn Novak said all the boys were aware of the school’s rules forbidding alcohol and drug use.
“Our principal spoke to all of the students on the very first day of school regarding the policy,” Novak said.
The teacher who detected the marijuana odor didn’t immediately confront the Grade 11 and 12 students; instead, the teens were individually called into the office the following Monday and questioned.
Eleven of the 12 boys admitted their wrongdoing, and Middleton said they deserve some credit for their honesty.
“There was no bullying involved, there was no violence involved, there was no vandalism involved,” Middleton said. “It was a bad decision.”
The school district eventually determined the boy who denied smoking pot hadn’t participated, and overturned his suspension.
Middleton’s son was also allowed to stay at Sardis, on condition that he apologize to the teachers who supervised the trip, take alcohol and drug courses, and complete community service.
The teen’s father said the restorative justice approach makes more sense than upending students’ lives during senior year.
In Vancouver and Surrey, schools discipline on a case-by-case basis. Novak said the Chilliwack district is planning to review its policy and regulation regarding marijuana use, but there won’t necessarily be changes.
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