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Student Suspended for Marijuana Possession


Outside of the guidance counselor’s office at the high school, a student was found sleeping. His skin was gray and he appeared to be extremely sick. The student was transported to the hospital and it was determined that he had consumed marijuana while on his lunch break. The student claimed that he had received the marijuana from the appellant right before lunch at her locker.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the appellant was questioned and admitted that she gave him the marijuana. She did not say where the exchange took place. The school contacted her parents and told both the appellant and her parents that an extended suspension would be recommended.

The student who took the marijuana dropped out of school. During the suspension hearing the appellant stated that she gave the other student marijuana, but the exchange did not take place on campus, although she did state that she had taken the marijuana from her locker. The school board found her guilty of possession and she was suspended.

Appellant’s Argument

The appellant states that her suspension was in violation of due process because she was charged with distribution on campus and was found guilty of marijuana possession. She states that she was not prepared to defend herself against this lesser, but included charge against her.

Case Discussion

In any case that deals with a student’s suspension the court must look back at the Supreme Court ruling in Goss versus Lopez. A Queens Criminal Lawyer said in this particular case the court found that any student that faces suspension from a public school has the liberty and interests that qualify for protection under the due process clause of the 14th amendment. However, the court did note that the application of due process are practical matters and negate inflexible procedures that are applicable to almost every imaginable type of situation that may occur.

It is made clear by the Goss case that in each student disciplinary proceeding the student must have adequate notice, an opportunity to be heard, and there must be evidence to support the penalty. It is made clear that disciplinary proceedings do not have the same safeguards as given to criminal defendants.

In this particular case the court must determine if it was unfair to suspend the appellant for her admitted possession of marijuana when she was notified that she was being charged with distribution of marijuana on campus.

It is apparent that the appellant was given notice from the very beginning of the incident that there was going to be disciplinary action taken in regard to her role in the marijuana incident that involved the other student. There was no prejudice by the notice that she was given of the upcoming disciplinary hearing. The appellant argues that she handed the other student marijuana just off of campus. This argument does not deprive the school board from being able to suspend her for the admitted possession of marijuana while she was on campus.

Court Decision

The facts of the case have been reviewed and the court is affirming the determination made by the school board. The appellant’s rights were not prejudiced as she was given apt notice about the hearing and knew what the incident involved.

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