Thursday, June 21, 2007

Legal action considered against suspension

Student who spoke out about risks of marijuana, alcohol, falsely accused of selling drugs, mother says

Last Thursday, Kentucky School News and Commentary reported this story out of Canada. The story drew a comment from someone claiming to be Kieran King's mother, Jo Anne Euler. We follow up today.
WINNIPEG -- A video recording of a free-speech protest at a Saskatchewan high school shows a school superintendent saying publicly that 15-year-old Kieran King had been accused of selling drugs at his school, even though his mother says he had never been investigated or charged, or even spoken to by the school principal.

Kieran's mother, Jo Anne Euler, says the drug-selling accusation is false, but hasn't yet decided whether to pursue legal action. Her first priority is to appeal the school's decision to prevent Kieran from writing his final exams, which means his grades will fall from the high 80s to the mid-50s.

The video, which can be seen on YouTube (embedded below), shows the peculiar seven-person protest outside Wawota Parkland School last week. It was organized, with the help of the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party, after the principal threatened to call police if Kieran continued to talk about the relative health risks of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco - his response to a school presentation on the dangers of drugs.

Just before the start of the protest, the principal ordered a school lockdown, brought in the RCMP and later conducted a threat-assessment on Kieran. He and his brother were suspended for three days for leaving school grounds, preventing him from writing his exams.

Superintendent of education Velda Weatherald tries to explain on the video why Kieran was told not to talk about marijuana in school after a student complained to the principal.

"When a student or parent comes with a complaint to the principal, all she did say was if ever anyone was promoting drug use or was actually trying to sell drugs - and there was an accusation," Ms. Weatherald says.

A voice off camera asks, "Against Kieran?"

"Yes," Ms. Weatherald replies, but refuses to offer further details.

Kieran has said several times that he has never used or even seen marijuana.

Neither Ms. Weatherald nor any other representative of the South East Cornerstone School Division would speak to The Globe and Mail yesterday.

Ms. Euler explained that Kieran has always felt strongly about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. Nineteen years ago, Ms. Euler's husband and eldest daughter, who was nine at the time, were killed by a drunk driver.

"I know for a fact that's why he looks up all the negative facts about alcohol, that adds some fuel to it," she said. "He knows the effect, because you just don't ever get over it."

This from the Globe and Mail.
A related item: The history of marijuana laws in America form the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
And these from YouTube.

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