A former student of Northmont High School, Jordan Evans, got suspended and subsequently expelled for smelling like marijuana. The student, however, claims he was wrongly accused.
According to Dayton247Now, the incident occurred on January 22 during class after his teacher claimed he smelled the substance on him. The teacher then went ahead to inform his colleagues who also smelled him. He was also reported to the school principal.
“I feel like my principal and teacher could’ve handled it way better because they could’ve asked any other students. They could’ve smelled others, but they picked me,” he said.
Suspecting he was in possession of the substance, he was subsequently searched from head to toe, but nothing was found on him.
“The principal made me take everything out of my pockets and made me take off my shoes as well as pull up my sweatpants and she didn’t find anything at all. I didn’t have anything at all,” Evans said.
His mother, Katina Cottrell, was then contacted after the search. A registered nurse, Cottrell went to the school with a drug test kit to get to the bottom of the matter.
“I took a drug test up to the school and I drug tested my son in front of the school and the principal. They saw the results and they came back negative,” she told Dayton247Now.
Just to be certain of the initial test results, Cottrell took Evans to an urgent care medical center where another test was taken. Those results also came out negative.
The school’s code of conduct stipulates that: “No student shall come to school, remain at school, or attend any school-sponsored activity with the smell of alcohol/marijuana on his/her breath/person or showing signs of consumption regardless of when or where the marijuana/alcoholic beverage was consumed.”
It adds that those caught breaching the aforementioned rule “will be suspended from school for ten (10) school days.” A recommended expulsion will also be sent to the “Superintendent unless the student and parents elect (within the ten (10) day suspension period) to be involved in the Alternative to Expulsion Program.”
Evans was, however, expelled before the 10-day suspension period ended. His mother suspects it could be a case of racial discrimination.
This incident comes in the wake of the district’s attempt at improving the relationship between teachers and black students. A diversity coach was appointed in 2018 to educate staff on cultural awareness with an emphasis on black male students, Dayton247Now further reports.
“The long term goals are to improve what we’re doing with students of color as far as relational things, making sure we aren’t doing things that are subjective and we’re following all protocol,” Equity Fellows Director, Michael Carter said.
Responding to the incident in a statement to Dayton247Now, the district said: “Northmont High School has adopted a Student Code of Conduct which sets expectations for student behavior and which specifies consequences when misconduct occurs.
“We provide all students considered for suspension or expulsion an opportunity to speak against possible discipline and to otherwise tell their side of the story. State and federal student privacy laws prevent us from publicly discussing a particular student’s discipline. Therefore we cannot respond.”