Eighth-Grader Suspended 55 Days for Distribution of . . . Oregano

Oregano

How can an herb so pretty have caused such an uproar?

Drugs are bad. Drugs in school are bad. Spices are good. Spices in school? Apparently bad, too.

An eighth-grade student at the Cuthbertson Middle School in Waxhaw, N.C., learned that the hard way after giving a classmate a bag of oregano following a lecture on the dangers of marijuana, according to Fox News.

The school’s policy manual says students are subject to a 10-day suspension for “possessing illegal or counterfeit drugs” and “misuse of chemical/material (organic or otherwise) that causes or is purported to cause a hallucinogenic/mind altering effect.” The suspension, however, can be longer if conduct by a student “demonstrates a willful violation” of school policies.

You’ll never look at oregano in your pizza sauce the same way again, right?

“It was just a joke,” the mother of the boy, told Fox News. “He’s embarrassed that it’s turned into such a big issue. He’s actually said he doesn’t know why he did it. But he didn’t have an illegal substance to begin with.”

Immediately following the incident in January, the kid received a 10-day suspension. It wasn’t until earlier this month that his parents were alerted to the fact that school officials had recommended an additional 45 days of punishment. Until his suspension is lifted on March 29, he is attending a school for at-risk students.

The Virginia-based Rutherford Institute called the suspension a “gross overreaction to a childish prank and said it may be a violation of the boy’s constitutional rights.”

The Rutherford Institute also noted recent legislation that requires local school boards to “minimize use of long-term suspensions and expulsions to violations deemed to threaten safety of students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment.”

The kid’s mother also noted he’s never been in serious trouble before, and the concern is that this infraction will follow him around on his record for years to come.

Is this punishment ridiculous, or should the kid not have done the oregano crime if he couldn’t do the oregano time?

Image: Wikipedia

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