A North Carolina mother is furious after her 15-year-old was suspended from school for possession of drugs, even though the student was only accused of smelling like marijuana and later passed a drug test, WNCN reports.
Jakayla Johnson was in Chinese classes at Garner Magnet High School with about 30 other students when a school resource officer interrupted the class, saying that there was a smell of marijuana from down the hall.
“I was feeling embarrassed because they called me out of everybody,” the 15-year-old recalled. Jakayla said that after about five minutes of searching the class, the officer singled her out.
“They told me to spread my fingers and they smelled my fingers,” she added. She was then taken to the office, where she was patted down and made to remove her shoes. Her book bag was also searched.
“It was explained to Jakayla that for her hands to smell so pungently of marijuana, she would have to have possessed it in her hands at some recent point in time,” a document obtained by the news station from Wake County (N.C.) Schools states.
Jakayla was suspended for five days and also required to take drug classes or face suspension for the rest of the year.
Her mother, Tameka Johnson, says she was disbelieving when the school called her to make her aware of the situation.
“I said, ‘Not my child. You have the wrong child, because I know my child,’” she told the station.
Johnson said that on the day of the suspension, she took Jakayla to a medical lab to get a drug test. The results came back negative for any drugs or alcohol. Johnson says that when she gave the results to school officials, demanding an apology and to have Jakayla reinstated, she was instead presented with the documentation indicating the suspension of her daughter for possession of marijuana.
Johnson told WNCN that she asked school officials how Jakayla could have been suspended for possession if she only smelled of the drug, and school officials indicated that since there was no other option to check, they checked “possession.”
Johnson says that she is now afraid the incident will follow her daughter through the rest of her life and is worried about other students who may not know how to stand up for themselves.
Jakayla has an appeal date for her suspension set for May 18, but she has already missed three tests during her suspension and is struggling to catch up on her work, WNCN reports.
Read more at WNCN.