MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Girl Writes About Pot in Her Diary, School Reads It and Suspends Her All Year

Henriette BrowneWikimedia CommonsAdministrators at a Dallas County, Missouri, school read a teenage girl's diary, discovered a reference to marijuana within its pages, and suspended the girl for the rest of 2014.

The punishment was imposed last May, but the girl's father just went public with the situation. According to The Springfield News-Leader:

Tom Grayhorse said his daughter, Krystal, had never been in trouble before she was called into the office and suspended May 9. Originally, she was ousted for 10 days, but it was quickly extended through the end of the 2014 calendar year.

Unable to finish her junior year, her grades plummeted and she lost out on credits needed for graduation. Grayhorse hoped the district would reconsider, allowing her to return last month so she had a chance of graduating with her class in May.

"I was really frustrated," he said last week. "I thought when school started, they'd wake up."

Grayhorse said his daughter left her journal at school, where it was discovered by school administrators. In the diary, Krystal wrote about experimenting with marijuana and considered bringing it to school. But no marijuana was found in Krystal's possession, nor was she given a drug test. Grayhorse said the diary entry may have been a fictional story rather than a concrete plan of action—he can't say for sure, since the school never gave the diary back.

The official cause of suspension listed on the disciplinary papers was "possession of a controlled substance," which Grayhorse said is absurd given that she didn't possess any drugs:

"Her 'possession' constitutes writing something?" he asked. "That is the alleged possession?"

Grayhorse said the notebook passages, which he was told about but never saw for himself, were cause for concern, but the punishment — not being allowed to return to school for seven months — was too drastic. 

District officials maintain that Grayhorse has not revealed the full story, but they can't elaborate, due to privacy laws.

This would not be the first time a student was disciplined for actions that stemmed from a fictional story taken too seriously by tone-deaf school administrators. But even if Krystal's conduct was worse than Grayhorse admits, only under the absurdity of "zero tolerance" could a full-year suspension be justified.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • MegaloMonocle||

    the school never gave the diary back.

    Somebody has committed (petty) theft, then.

    District officials maintain that Grayhorse has not revealed the full story, but they can't elaborate, due to privacy laws.

    I like the way they cloak their invasion of privacy in privacy laws.

    I don't like the way they lie about those privacy laws. Presumably this is FERPA, which, far from preventing the disclosure of student records to the student's parents, actually requires it upon request.

  • Andrew S.||

    Yeah, but you forgot about Article F, section Y, subsection T, clause W of FERPA, which states "Any clause of this Act may be declared null and void if complying with such clause makes the school district look bad."

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    I see what you did there.

  • MJGreen||

    She needs to learn that pot will ruin her life. The only way to do that is to ruin her life.

  • Doctor Whom||

    I used that argument on another discussion board. A drug warrior actually responded that drugs are so horrible that ruining people's lives to teach them that lesson is perfectly okay.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    A drug warrior actually responded that drugs are so horrible that ruining people's lives to teach them that lesson is perfectly okay.

    If they're that horrible, why does the government need to do any teaching? Just let the child sink into a depraved life of Teletubbies marathons and Famous Amos binges.

  • Riven||

    I've been doing it wrong this whole time!

  • DesigNate||

    You've been binging on Teletubbies and staring at Famous Amos wrappers?

  • Riven||

    You don't know my life!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    "Government takes away the dream from every child’s heart and replaces it with a nightmare, and it’s time we in America stand up and replace those dreams. Just say 'No' to government!"

  • pronomian||

    What she is learning is prohibition, Gov't interventionism (in this case school gov't) will ruin her life. That the forth amendment doesn't apply to officials, that theft is subjective, that respect for one's personal items is subject to gov't interpretation. That she is a second class citizen and will always be a second class citizen as long as we have a gov't who believes it all authoritative.

  • Doctor Whom||

    "Her 'possession' constitutes writing something?" he asked. "That is the alleged possession?"

    Thoughtcrime does not entail death; thoughtcrime is death.

    District officials maintain that Grayhorse has not revealed the full story, but they can't elaborate, due to privacy laws.

    But you read her diary. Are the "privacy laws" codified in Title F, Part Y, Chapter T, § W?

  • Mannie||

    They probably badgered a confession out of her. I almost wrote "beat." At that age, it doesn't take much.

  • flye||

    She needs to write another journal to leave laying around, this time with entries about how school administrators forced her into sex slavery. Because if it's written in a diary it must be true.

  • Rich||

    "Dear Diary, you know those bastards will deny it to their dying days, but ...."

  • Stickler Meeseeks||

    Wow. Many years ago at a former school of mine, a seventh grader dropped a bag of weed when he saw the school cop walking his direction. This little angel returned to school the following week. If it had been my bag, I'd be in the federal pokey to this day.

  • twoskinsoneman||

    craziness. It's a wonder parents these days do not get violent on school officials.

  • BlockadeRunnerX||

    Tar and feathers is too humane for these bastards.

  • Gene||

    This definitely calls for the boats.

  • GamerFromJump||

    What, like the boat Dexter uses when disposing of remains? 'cause I'm down with that.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    The ancient persians did quality torture.

  • creech||

    Wonder what the school would have done if she had been walking around with that book containing adventures of the Choom Gang?

  • Rich||

    Excellent.

  • Rich||

    "Her 'possession' constitutes writing something?"

    1) Don't even *think* about something.

    2) Paging Fr. Karras ....

  • Vulgar Madman||

    They did teach her something.

  • GILMORE||

    Just because its "hard to find a photo" is no reason not to try

  • Paul.||

    That 11 yr old girl is totally inappropriately dressed for her age.

  • Spartacus||

    Hey, her diary is made out of substances, and she controlled it (not very well, apparently). Therefore the diary is a controlled substance. Q.E.D. The authorities have spoken, your only job is to obey unquestioningly. If you are against having the harshest penalties for minor offences, you are sending the wrong message to The Children. You loser druggie degenerates need to STFU, take another hit, and go back to molesting the local livestock.

  • Anomalous||

    The administrators' tolerance matches their IQ's perfectly.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    I'm so glad they caught her. We're so close to stamping out the marihuana menace once and for all. If we stop now, thousands of children could be put at risk.

  • Paul.||

    Administrators at a Dallas County, Missouri, school read a teenage girl's diary,

    One wonders how we got here.

    If I worked for the school, and had found the journal-- and maybe read a bit of it to find out who it belonged to, if the student were a good student, I'd give it back to them with a quiet, personal warning about marijuana at school.

    If it were a bad kid, I'd just give it back to him.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    See, here's your problem. You assume that the average teacher and school administrator are rational, intelligent people... not only is that not true, but it couldn't be further from the truth. They are emoting children in adult bodies.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    As much as I like a good pothead beat down, the chief purpose of a school is to warehouse young people for the purpose of keeping them off the streets and from learning anything useful that might aid them in their development.

    How can this young woman be properly warehoused if she's suspended from school altogether?

  • CatoTheElder||

    A few years ago, a high-level politician took off the mask and revealed how the ruling elite really view the nature of liberty and the purpose of education:

    We talk about teaching ethics in schools -- people say, "What ethics? Whose ethics?" ... What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do. You have free speech so I can be heard. ... At the core the struggle is philosophical. ... We're going to find the answer when schools once again train citizens. Schools exist in America and have always existed to train responsible citizens of the United States of America.


    Rudy Giuliani

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I despise that asshole. New York breeds a special kind of totalitarian shitbag like Rudy, Peter IRA King, Bloomberg, and Moobs Schumer

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Freedom is about authority.

    That's insanity, but let's not forget, for many on the left, Rudy was a conservative who never exercised enough control, such as banning "big" sodas.

    But yeah, screw Rudy. If freedom is about authority, then I suppose pro-choice is about banning all abortions.

  • Robert||

    These goofy stories have been reported for long enough (~20 yrs.) that somebody should do a follow-up reporting on whether these school punishments or expulsions had any effect on the subsequent lives of these people.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Much like Keynesianism, it is obvious that their lives would have been much worse had the officials not taken action.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Mind-boggling to several powers. I can't relate to half of what I read anymore.

  • juris imprudent||

    I don't understand, did the school district not have a SWAT unit to deal with this obviously dangerous student-dealer?

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    She obviously doesn't own a dog, because there is no mention of her evil drug-addled chihuahua-chupacabra mix attacking our valiant student resource superhero in uniform, resulting in a officer firearm induced canine-demon mitigation exercise.

  • BuSab Agent||

    +1 Standing Ovation for that sentence.

  • userve32||

    Does not make any sense dude.

    www.Crypt-Tools.tk

  • Mannie||

    Her parents failed to teach her. Teach your children to trust nothing about the education system. Take the education they give you, but only believe the "hard" stuff like mathematics and physics. Parrot the rest back, but never believe it.

    Give nothing back to the system. Whatever you say will be taken down and used against you. Treat them as if they were enemy captors interrogating you as a POW. Be subtle as snakes. Know that the teacher is a cop who wants to destroy you; a tyrant who wants to enslave you. A predator who wants to abuse you. A spy who wants to denounce you.

    Sorry about that, good teachers, but you have the responsibility to harangue, harass, and if necessary, terrorize the Liberal Vermin out of the system. Otherwise, you're part of the problem, too. No prisoners. No quarter.

    Μολὼν λαβέ

  • ace_m82||

    I think this one actually qualifies as that elusive person I'd agree is doing (just) enough to vaccinate their child from the public school system. Bravo.

  • silverfang789||

    I think these "privacy laws" need to be updated to reflect the reality we live in. Right now, a school suspends a kid over something stupid and the parents go on social media over it. When the school is asked, they say they can't talk about it due to privacy laws. So I say, change the laws so that the school can talk about it and air their side of the story so the general public can know what's going on. After all, it's our tax money paying for all this, so we should have the right to know.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    The people can demand they talk, as there is no real legal restriction stopping them.

    If there is or might be a lawsuit as a result of all of this, then any lawyer will advise "don't discuss" - but it's just that - advice.

    And while too few care enough today to really make a difference, they work for the tax payers.

    So if those tax payers have questions, then the employees are required to answer. If not, dismiss them and move on.

    But since we all now work by, for, and only under direct government authority, I doubt the majority of tax payers know it's their right to get answers from those they pay.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Life in the giga-state is like an old-school JRPG. You're just going along, when all of a sudden WOOSH! random encounter and you're fighting for your life. Unfortunately, no one was successfully learned Flare, Ultima or how to summon Bahamut.

  • Intn'l House of Badass||

    Someone please explain to me why the school building isn't on fire, surrounded by pitchfork-waving angry parents?

  • chris3145||

    how long do people think it will take before these zero tolerance regulations make into our homes? it already extends to your car and your outer and inner body on the say so of the family pet.....

  • ||

    To have her miss all year over a -secret- public diary is far, far worse than if she was to show up high to school for each of those days.
    Schools dont even hide that they are one big social experiment anymore, the schooling and education is just one of the control variables.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Disagree. The more time away from that place the less time they have to run her through the sausage grinder.

    Now if we can just hand out like 4 million of these pot diaries to every high school kid in America, voila!

  • Hicks||

    Are they nuts? Now she can stay home and experiment with marijuana full time.

    Maybe she can write about how her teacher offered to ignore the diary if she would do "private detention" at his house.

  • ||

    Suggested by my friend George:
    The administration should be sued under 42 USC 1983 for denial of due process. While in court, and conveniently in front of a federal magistrate, the father, or better yet the daughter, should had the judge sworn criminal complaints against the administrators for violation of 18 USC 241, conspiracy to violate rights.

    They want zero tolerance? That is my version of zero tolerance.

  • TxJack 112||

    We live in a world where schools have way too much power. This is similar to the boys suspended for playing with air soft guns near a school bus stop even though they were in their own yard. Education is the domain of progressives and these types of incidents are getting more and more outrageous, yet let a teacher get busted for using heroin at school and the union will fight tooth and nail to keep them employed.

  • pronomian||

    Threaten a lawsuit. Schools only respond when they think they will lose money.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online