Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD
DATE OF INCIDENT: Sept 24 2009 - Post-171
Random drug sniffing dogs hit on my daughter's car and upon search found two prescription pills belonging to someone else that he was suppose to take on a outing to the lake two weeks before. Boy put pills in pocket, forgot to take. My daughter cleaned out vehicle, pills accidentally fallen out of shorts left in vehicle. She explained situation to Saginaw police and school vice principal. They detained her in school office and did not contact me for almost two hours after incident. We had witness to verify story, but the principal/police would not speak to her via phone.
Although Vice Principal stated he believed my daughter's explanation, He suspended her verbally 2 days and we were told she could return on the following Tues. On Mon Sept 28, vice principal met with campus principal and they decided to sentence her to MANDITORY sixty days at Alternative School. We were not afforded a hearing to plead our case prior to this decision. She was then told she could not return to school on Tues Sept 29 and was scheduled hearing Wed Sept 30. They did not follow the rules as there was strong evidence to prove lack of intent, but no consideration given in this incident. She began Alternative School on Oct 1, 2009.
I filed a grievance and am scheduled to meet with isd official Fri Oct 16. I have gathered letters from parent involved (our witness via phone), letters from others who were went in her vehicle that day. I have copies of prescription bottles verify what the medication was and who it belonged to. I got character references for my daughter. I also hired a lawyer to protect my daughter's rights.
Update: Oct. 19, 2009
I met with the director of student services on Friday and he told me that I had proven my daughter's case and that she could return to school today Monday Oct 19. I had turned the grievance complaint into them on Oct 7, and then called Oct 13 and they sat the appointment up. (Vice Principal) stated to me at the meeting he was getting ready to call me to let me know I had presented enough evidence to prove the pills weren't hers. We could have done that on day 1 (Sept 24th) but they wouldn't listen to us. She had to attend ADC Oct 1-16.
Is this a case where the district, though slow to act, decided to exercise discretion or is it a case that would have had the same results regardless of 171? In our opinion, 171 did not come into play here. Because the girl was punished before all of the facts could be obtained and that she served two weeks in reform school, the district did not exercise its legal requirement of discretion. The shame is that the parents had to hire a lawyer. They were fortunate in that they could afford to hire one. Had this been a family that did not have the resources to retain counsel, the punishment, in our opinion, would have remained regardless of appeal.
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