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    Unhappy Parent Protests Fairfax County Schools' Possession Policy

    You're joking, right?

    Parent Protests Fairfax County Schools' Possession Policy

    Updated 1:15 PM EDT, Tue, Apr 14, 2009

    A parent of an expelled South Lakes High student is protesting Fairfax County's zero tolerance for pot.

    FAIRFAX, Va. -- A parent of an expelled Herndon High senior is protesting the Fairfax County Public Schools system's policy for possession of marijuana, sources said.

    Q: Do you think Fairfax County Schools' possession policy is fair or too rigid?
    The student, who had a 3.5 GPA and had been accepted at George Mason University, was two credits and two months from graduating when he was caught with the pot. Police charged him with possession, sources said, but the school accused him of intent to distribute and barred him from attending regular schools.

    He is allowed to attend alternative schools in the county, but his family argues that they don't have the AP classes he needs.

    On April 5, Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher wrote about the suicide of a South Lakes High student faced with expulsion. Junior Josh Anderson was found dead on March 19, the morning of his hearing after he'd been caught for the second time in two years.

    Possession of marijuana on school grounds is grounds for automatic suspension and recommended expulsion in Fairfax County, Fisher reported.

    Is that policy fair or too rigid? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

    First Published: Apr 14, 2009 12:14 PM EDT
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 04-14-2009 at 01:25 PM.

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    Did this come as a surprise to you M-2-7???


    Not really a surprise. Considering where this is, I really am not all that surprise. Those folks up in NOVA really have their heads rammed so far up the old wazzo, knowing what day or even if its a sunny day would take a day or two for them to retract and see the real world and if then I am not all that sure.

    The poor little chillens, can't have their pot and enjoy it any where they like!!
    The parents are probably users as well!!!!
    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 04-14-2009 at 02:20 PM.
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    Did this come as a surprise to you M-2-7???
    Considering some of the other articles that I've read and or posted over the years... sigh... I guess it should not be a surprise of any kind, but it was still a bit of a shock nonetheless.
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    I understand why some people think it is too harsh. However, him being a senior they have to make an example of him. I am a senior in high school, and there was a trip to Germany where 23 of the 30 kids on the trip got caught drinking. They are all up for expulsion because it was a school trip. All of the students were over the legal drinking age in Germany. They must make an example because being seniors, some students think they can do anything. Bottom line, the school was probably just making an example for the other students.
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    yuck it doubled up on me. opps
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScooterUMT56 View Post
    I understand why some people think it is too harsh. However, him being a senior they have to make an example of him. I am a senior in high school, and there was a trip to Germany where 23 of the 30 kids on the trip got caught drinking. They are all up for expulsion because it was a school trip. All of the students were over the legal drinking age in Germany. They must make an example because being seniors, some students think they can do anything. Bottom line, the school was probably just making an example for the other students.


    Say What? An Example???

    Hey kid, try getting a job in Philly, Pitts'gh, DC or any other major fire dept and smoke several joints before you are to take the physical and see what happens. Better yet, don't smoke 'em and get the job and maybe 8 months or so into your employment they tell you to report for a drug test and you knocked off several joints the night before while you and your date were doing what ever you all do. You come up dirrty, and you are gone! Fired and no recourse!
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    I dunno about y'all, but I have always been with the full understanding that "Zero Tollerance" is exactly that. ZERO tolerance, ZERO acceptance. Get caught with that which is listed under the Zero Tolerance Policy, then you better be prepared to accept the consequences. Pretty plain and simple, but then I'm an "Old Guy from the Old School".

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    Just as a general observation, not necessarily about this story....but zero tolerance policies are usually born out of unnecessary fears and can cause more harm than good.
    Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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    Naturally, I can't speak for any other school districts beyond those in which I have lived, Fairfax County being one of those. Every school yard has a sign posted somewhere, usually several "somewheres" that read to the effect of:

    "This is School is a Drug Free Area." (or something to that nature)

    At first I thought it was a given that any school yard should be a drug free area until I got a better sense of where I now lived. Then it made sense in an odd sort of way. I read those signs now as a statement of policy and as an announcement of the sentiment for which the staff and students stand.

    Of course, I could be reading more into those signs than what the English actually suggests.

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    I refuse to let something as silly as pot be grounds for ruining a person's future. We aren't talking about crack cocaine here. The punishment should fit the crime and expulsion is not a fitting punishment for something stupid.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    It's not up to the school to do this. This is a matter for law enforcement and the parents. The schools job is to educate. The school is not there to influence public policy or opinion. How did he disrupt the classes by carrying this stuff? Schools have gone over the edge with these zero tolerance policies.

    As for the trip to Germany, they students didn't do anything illegal. Move on. Germany has a progressive view of drinking, hence fewer binge episodes and less alcoholism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    It's not up to the school to do this. This is a matter for law enforcement and the parents. The schools job is to educate. The school is not there to influence public policy or opinion. How did he disrupt the classes by carrying this stuff? Schools have gone over the edge with these zero tolerance policies.
    Ummm.. yes it is. The school can set whatever policy it wants with respect to possession of illegal substances. I agree with zero tolerance for the most part. They can't let that slide.

    On the other hand, they shouldn't ruin a kid's life for a first-time offense. Here's a kid with a good GPA, accepted to a good college.. an expulsion means he doesn't graduate, doesn't get into college, and is a pretty significant black mark against any future applications.

    I think he has to take responsibility and be accountable for what he's done. Certainly not shirking that.. At the same time I don't know that this warrants such long-term impacts.
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    I don't like zero tolerance policies, but I fully support the school expelling him. He had drugs and they had evidence to suspect that he was dealing drugs. This is illegal and detrimental to the school and student body. I think he should be thrown out.

    His life isn't ruined and he can still go to college. Maybe it won't be the one he wants, but he can still go. Thats the price he gets to pay for his bad choices.

    We are starting to get too soft on drugs. That road only leads to more people using and dealing, and a bigger overall problem.

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    Personally, I'm against drugs of any kind including tobacco and alcohol. I think both do far more harm than pot. If the govts were actually serious about drugs, these are the first 2 they would ban, but because of tax revenues, will never do it. I don't agree on the expelling or a criminal record for this instance. Everyone makes a mistake and I would dare say there are quite a few members here who have tried pot. Possibly this could have gone to a warning with parental involvment with the proviso that if it happened again, hes history and criminal charges would be laid. If he had been found underage with alcohol, would the penalty have been the same?

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    Thumbs down Well.................

    Am I the only one here that thinks this incident would never have happened IF THE PARENTS HAD BEEN DOING THEIR JOB.......

    And, This kid now doesn't get to go to an Ivy League School. Big Deal. There are Truck Drivers out there that are Millionaires, and Doctors and Lawyers that are Broke. Formal Education in an Institution of Higher Learning is no guarantee that someone will do well..............
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Am I the only one here that thinks this incident would never have happened IF THE PARENTS HAD BEEN DOING THEIR JOB.......

    And, This kid now doesn't get to go to an Ivy League School. Big Deal. There are Truck Drivers out there that are Millionaires, and Doctors and Lawyers that are Broke. Formal Education in an Institution of Higher Learning is no guarantee that someone will do well..............
    Great points Chief...I would add to that sentiment; that if going to George Mason or other prestigious schools were that important to him, he shouldn't have been messing with pot or anything else that would jeopardize his chances.

    Its called real life, make mistakes suffer the consequences and hopefully learn a lesson. With Mom and Dad coming to his aid he is not going to learn his lesson...the only thing he'll learn is that mommy and daddy will protect me...I wish more parents would stop defending their kids when they do these kind of things and let them face the consequences.

    Also, as you said if parents did their job in first place he probably would have known better to be involved with pot and would have understood the consequences of his actions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Am I the only one here that thinks this incident would never have happened IF THE PARENTS HAD BEEN DOING THEIR JOB.......

    And, This kid now doesn't get to go to an Ivy League School. Big Deal. There are Truck Drivers out there that are Millionaires, and Doctors and Lawyers that are Broke. Formal Education in an Institution of Higher Learning is no guarantee that someone will do well..............
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Am I the only one here that thinks this incident would never have happened IF THE PARENTS HAD BEEN DOING THEIR JOB.......

    And, This kid now doesn't get to go to an Ivy League School. Big Deal. There are Truck Drivers out there that are Millionaires, and Doctors and Lawyers that are Broke. Formal Education in an Institution of Higher Learning is no guarantee that someone will do well..............
    I can't say I agree with you on this Harve. Too many times the knee jerk reaction is to blame the parents. How many people on here took a drink or got pi**ed before legal drinking age? I would venture to say most. How many took a puff or a lot more before the legal age of buying cigarettes. Are their parents totally responsible. Lets face it, kids will make mistakes and do some stupid things no matter the quality of upbringing. Peer pressure has a lot to do with it, as well as immaturity which is normal in a teenager. If this kid didn't have any prior record, I think a severe warning with parental involvment would be warranted, along with if strike two, your history.

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    I dont like "0 tolerance" rules. I think most of thim come about because the rich kids walk and the poor kids get both barrels. Which of course if not fair and we all want our kids treated fairly.

    So I'm not sure what I want but to ruin a kids whole life for one mistake is a little rough IMHO

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireflymedic View Post
    I dont like "0 tolerance" rules. I think most of thim come about because the rich kids walk and the poor kids get both barrels. Which of course if not fair and we all want our kids treated fairly.

    So I'm not sure what I want but to ruin a kids whole life for one mistake is a little rough IMHO
    WHY don't you like Zero tolerance??

    What is your City/County and fire department policy on drugs?

    My city and department policy is, you come up dirty or get caught using and you are gone. PERIOD!

    We dont' need drugs users in our department.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    WHY don't you like Zero tolerance??

    What is your City/County and fire department policy on drugs?

    My city and department policy is, first offence and you are gone. PERIOD!

    We dont' need drugs users in our department.
    This thread had nothing to do with fire depts....


    What if your dept doesnt use the federal numbers for opiates, but their own stricter standards, that cause false positives after 2 poppy seed bagels?

    What if your dept has a strict zero tolerance for violence policy....and you have to defend yourself while possibly injuring your attacker?

    What if your child forgot his small knife from Boy Scouts in his coat pocket and went to school in a place with zero tolerance for "weapons"?

    How about arresting 14 year olds for making joke lists about people that have ****ed them off?

    How about the 2 8 year old kids in Florida who got suspended for "terroristic threats" because they were playing cops and robbers?

    Or the 3rd grader in Louisiana who got suspended for drawing a soldier armed with a canteen and a knife?

    All of these have happened within the last 4 or 5 years, all in places with "zero tolerance" rules.



    Zero tolerance denies the right to due process, doesnt allow adults to use discretion, and is merely a giant step towards the cowardice of CYA that recent generations have adopted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    WHY don't you like Zero tolerance??

    What is your City/County and fire department policy on drugs?

    My city and department policy is, you come up dirty or get caught using and you are gone. PERIOD!

    We dont' need drugs users in our department.
    Virtually all depts that I know of have zero tolerance, but in Canada, if a FF or medic is past probationary period, they cannot be fired for simple posession or based on blood test. All deptsmust have and cover rehad and counselling. Its not restricted to Fire depts, virtually all businesses and govt agencies. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with it, but remember these are adults in jobs. I can't say the same for a high school student. How many on here are horrified at the thought that an 18 or younger person could be a FF, since they don't have the life experience or maturity to be one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    This thread had nothing to do with fire depts....


    What if your dept doesnt use the federal numbers for opiates, but their own stricter standards, that cause false positives after 2 poppy seed bagels?

    What if your dept has a strict zero tolerance for violence policy....and you have to defend yourself while possibly injuring your attacker?

    What if your child forgot his small knife from Boy Scouts in his coat pocket and went to school in a place with zero tolerance for "weapons"?

    How about arresting 14 year olds for making joke lists about people that have ****ed them off?

    How about the 2 8 year old kids in Florida who got suspended for "terroristic threats" because they were playing cops and robbers?

    Or the 3rd grader in Louisiana who got suspended for drawing a soldier armed with a canteen and a knife?

    All of these have happened within the last 4 or 5 years, all in places with "zero tolerance" rules.



    Zero tolerance denies the right to due process, doesnt allow adults to use discretion, and is merely a giant step towards the cowardice of CYA that recent generations have adopted.
    YES!!! Finally, someone who gets it (besides the good Chief of course!)

    Zero tolerance policies take away the discretion part and the flexibility of looking at something case by case. However, there needs to be firm, but fair enforcement.

    I agree with the great Chief, it DOES start with the parents!! If the parents would put in half of an effort, we would have better kids these days. This doesn't sound like the case here though. Sounds as if he was a upper middle class student with snobbish parents who say "it was just a little pot." This is the problem with people these days. "it was just a little pot" yeah, that's the same as saying " it was just a little money I stole from the bank" It is illegal, period. To say anything else is just condoning the behavior and saying it's ok to break the law "just a little bit."

    There has to be common sense here. What is his history? What was his attitude about it? How much did he have? Was he selling it? All of this needs to be considered for punishment.

    Zero tolerance policies are not the answer. The punishment should be on a case by case basis based on the facts of the case. Not because of some school policy made up by someone who doesn't understand how it works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    YES!!! Finally, someone who gets it (besides the good Chief of course!)

    Zero tolerance policies take away the discretion part and the flexibility of looking at something case by case. However, there needs to be firm, but fair enforcement.

    I agree with the great Chief, it DOES start with the parents!! If the parents would put in half of an effort, we would have better kids these days. This doesn't sound like the case here though. Sounds as if he was a upper middle class student with snobbish parents who say "it was just a little pot." This is the problem with people these days. "it was just a little pot" yeah, that's the same as saying " it was just a little money I stole from the bank" It is illegal, period. To say anything else is just condoning the behavior and saying it's ok to break the law "just a little bit."

    There has to be common sense here. What is his history? What was his attitude about it? How much did he have? Was he selling it? All of this needs to be considered for punishment.

    Zero tolerance policies are not the answer. The punishment should be on a case by case basis based on the facts of the case. Not because of some school policy made up by someone who doesn't understand how it works.


    A few years back I heard about a kid who brought ingredients to school to bake something in home economics class (with the teacher's permission), and was suspended because someone decided that he was in posession of look alike drugs, and the school had a zero tolerance policy.

    Thats why they are not the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    I can't say I agree with you on this Harve. Too many times the knee jerk reaction is to blame the parents. How many people on here took a drink or got pi**ed before legal drinking age? I would venture to say most. How many took a puff or a lot more before the legal age of buying cigarettes. Are their parents totally responsible. Lets face it, kids will make mistakes and do some stupid things no matter the quality of upbringing. Peer pressure has a lot to do with it, as well as immaturity which is normal in a teenager. If this kid didn't have any prior record, I think a severe warning with parental involvment would be warranted, along with if strike two, your history.

    Bryan, you and I usually see things the same way on most issues but on this one, no. I understand underage experimentation and yes, some of the things so experienced are stupid and thus have negative consequences. In most cases, I'm a 'live and let live' kind of person; after all, I made my own share of mistakes growing up, like most of us.

    However, if kids want to indulge in drugs/drink/whatever, it should be on their own time in a private environment, not in a school or other very public environment. He had pot at school and that is just not acceptable. High school seniors are supposed to be using that year as a transition period into the "real world", whether it includes college or not. The real world means taking responsibility for your actions and if he gets off with just a slap on the wrist, how is he to learn how things really work out here?

    A college freshman who gets full legal action taken against him for the same infraction or the 18 y.o. who joins the military and then decides "just one joint won't hurt" and gets thrown out with a dishonorable discharge are paying the consequences of their actions and this kid who's almost an adult {legal age wise!} needs to learn that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction".

    Sorry about the soapbox, I just have a real issue with kid-gloving drug use.

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