Teen suspended for can of beer

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116
Teen suspended for can of beer

Did the school do the right thing in suspending this student?

A Texas family is appealing their son's suspension after he brought a can of beer to school.

Christi Seale said her 17-year-old son Chaz was running late Monday and accidentally grabbed a beer instead of a soda to pack in his lunch.

When Chaz realized his mistake, Seale said he immediately gave it to a teacher at Livingston High School, about 90 minutes north of Houston.

But the school didn't buy the story. The teacher called the principal and Chaz was suspended for three days. He will also have to attend an alternative school for two months.

"I think it's not black and white. There has to be a gray area. You can't punish a kid for doing the right thing. It's the same punishment you would give a kids that you catch doing the wrong thing," Seale said.

Chaz said he thought turning in the beer was the right thing to do. The Livingston school district is standing by the principal and the teacher and told the family it could find an appeal form online.

Read more: Teen says beer at school was accident, suspended anyway - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

I think there are a lot of schools that have a zero tolerance for alcohol on school property. There would be no way to know that it was truly and accident (doubtful). I think it is a fair punishment.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I think there are a lot of schools that have a zero tolerance for alcohol on school property. There would be no way to know that it was truly and accident (doubtful). I think it is a fair punishment.

So guilty until proven innocent is your stance.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I think this was a terrible reaction. He could have just hidden it in his backpack for the rest of the day and probably gotten away with it, but since he did the right thing he is being punished. It's not like they caught him with it, he turned it in voluntarily. What possible reason would he have had to do that if it wasn't an accident?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

So guilty until proven innocent is your stance.

Is it not proven that he had alcohol in school? Are they unsure if it was him or not, or if it actually happened? If it was accidental or on purpose does not change if he had alcohol on school property. If as an adult I had an open bottle of beer in my car and I was pulled over would it matter if I said until I was blue in the face that it was not mine and that it was an accident that I had it in my car? Or would I still get a ticket?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Is it not proven that he had alcohol in school? Are they unsure if it was him or not, or if it actually happened? If it was accidental or on purpose does not change if he had alcohol on school property. If as an adult I had an open bottle of beer in my car and I was pulled over would it matter if I said until I was blue in the face that it was not mine and that it was an accident that I had it in my car? Or would I still get a ticket?

It wasn't really like that. He wasn't caught with it, he turned it in. It would be more like if you flagged down an officer that was driving by and gave him the open bottle of beer you had in the car.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Is it not proven that he had alcohol in school? Are they unsure if it was him or not, or if it actually happened? If it was accidental or on purpose does not change if he had alcohol on school property. If as an adult I had an open bottle of beer in my car and I was pulled over would it matter if I said until I was blue in the face that it was not mine and that it was an accident that I had it in my car? Or would I still get a ticket?

I'd say it depends on the cop honestly. I've had cops pull me over and then not ticket me for things they could have.

But now let me understand, earlier you said "They don't know if it really was an accident or not"

but now you are saying it doesn't actually matter if its an accident or not.

Which stance is the one you are actually using.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

I'd say it depends on the cop honestly. I've had cops pull me over and then not ticket me for things they could have.

But now let me understand, earlier you said "They don't know if it really was an accident or not"

but now you are saying it doesn't actually matter if its an accident or not.

Which stance is the one you are actually using.

They are justified in suspending him one way or the other. If they truly felt it was an accident they could grant leniency, but would not be required to do so. I am coming at this from the perspective of some schools that I know of well. It would never be accepted for a student to have alcohol regardless of the circumstances. It would be an instant suspension. 3 days is generous. Different schools will have different levels of strictness on this, but I imagine most schools have rules against students having beer in school.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

They are justified in suspending him one way or the other. If they truly felt it was an accident they could grant leniency, but would not be required to do so. I am coming at this from the perspective of some schools that I know of well. It would never be accepted for a student to have alcohol regardless of the circumstances. It would be an instant suspension. 3 days is generous. Different schools will have different levels of strictness on this, but I imagine most schools have rules against students having beer in school.

Well for the sake of my own children, if they ever accidentally brought a beer to school and then chose to do the right thing by handing it over I certainly hope my school leans towards the rationally thinking and reasonable side and realizes that the child had nothing but good intentions.

Sometimes people can't see the forest through the trees

Also i find it interesting that here you would find it reasonable to play by the book no matter what but in the snowball debate, where the child intentionally hit a cop, you feel the punisment that is meant for the crime is 'too much'

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I think the 3-day suspension is reasonable. He did bring a beer to school, which is in violation of the rules, and he needs to be accountable for that. However, I do think that two months at an alternative school is too harsh. As others have said, he voluntarily turned it over and I think he should get a bit of slack for that.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

Also i find it interesting that here you would find it reasonable to play by the book no matter what but in the snowball debate, where the child intentionally hit a cop, you feel the punisment that is meant for the crime is 'too much'

I would guess it would depend on your personal opinion of how sever it is to bring beer to school vs. how sever it is to throw a snow ball at someone.

"Spacers" wrote:

I think the 3-day suspension is reasonable. He did bring a beer to school, which is in violation of the rules, and he needs to be accountable for that. However, I do think that two months at an alternative school is too harsh. As others have said, he voluntarily turned it over and I think he should get a bit of slack for that.

I can agree with this. A 3 day suspension is very reasonable to me. I do know of several private schools though where bringing beer to school would get you permanently kicked out of the school.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I would guess it would depend on your personal opinion of how sever it is to bring beer to school vs. how sever it is to throw a snow ball at someone.

I don't think accidentally bringing beer to school is severe at all. It means there was no intention to consume it, especially since once he did discover the accident, he turned it over...instead of consuming it or giving it to someone else. You think this is severe?

Aodhan threw a snowball at Nathalie the other day. He was doing it purposefully...although not purposefully aiming at her face. Well he got her in the face and this ball happened to have a good chunk of ice in it unknown to him. Her face was all red rashy and had little cuts on it for several days after.

I'll tel you right now, i was a lot more ticked off at Aodhan for not being more careful in his games than i ever would be if he accidentally packed the wrong bottle in his lunch box and then gave it to a teacher upon discovery.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

I don't think accidentally bringing beer to school is severe at all. It means there was no intention to consume it, especially since once he did discover the accident, he turned it over...instead of consuming it or giving it to someone else. You think this is severe?

That is where you can't know for sure that it was an accident. If it was the type of student who never was in trouble and was trust worthy the teacher/school might have shown more leniency. If the teacher/school felt they were just making the story up, they might be included to give a stiffer sentence. Either way, the school would be justified in punishing a child who had beer as school. For the other debate, I do think the boy should be punished. A felony however in my opinion should be reserved only for the very worst of offences.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I dont think he would have turned it in if he brought it on purpose. I think the school is sending the message that if you make a mistake you should try to hide it, very bad idea in my opinion.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

That is where you can't know for sure that it was an accident. If it was the type of student who never was in trouble and was trust worthy the teacher/school might have shown more leniency. If the teacher/school felt they were just making the story up, they might be included to give a stiffer sentence. Either way, the school would be justified in punishing a child who had beer as school. For the other debate, I do think the boy should be punished. A felony however in my opinion should be reserved only for the very worst of offences.

I think its wrong to treat someone like they are guilty when you don't have proof...especially in this case because he literally voluntarily turned the beer over. So anything that remotely resembles proof that one does have, it leans towards being an accident. This is just going to teach kids that doing the right thing gets you screwed. I guess if thats what they want to accomplish here then they succeeded. I mean seriously, he would have been better hiding it and bringing it back home or worse drinking it to hide the evidence.

School should use common sense...yay for sticking to strict rules, boo for the consequences of their decision.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

"KimPossible" wrote:

I think its wrong to treat someone like they are guilty when you don't have proof..

He was guilty of having alcohol on school property unless I am missing something. That I do not believe is being contested.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I kind of agree with Bonita on this one, because we only have the boy's parents version of events. For all we know 'voluntarily handing it over' was really: goofed off pretending to drink it, caused big disturbance in cafeteria, when a teacher came to see what was going on he quickly said he 'accidentally' brought it and handed it over. We also dont know this child's history at the school, or how he acted when asked about the situation. I just think there are too many unknowns with this one.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

If it's true that he voluntarily handed it over, I think the punishment is unfair. He was actually obeying the rule. He didn't intend to break it, he wasn't trying to get alcohol into school, and when he realized it, he turned it in immediately. I don't understand what is served by punishing him. But if they caught him with it and he made up that he was ABOUT to turn it in, that's a different story.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"ftmom" wrote:

I kind of agree with Bonita on this one, because we only have the boy's parents version of events. For all we know 'voluntarily handing it over' was really: goofed off pretending to drink it, caused big disturbance in cafeteria, when a teacher came to see what was going on he quickly said he 'accidentally' brought it and handed it over. We also dont know this child's history at the school, or how he acted when asked about the situation. I just think there are too many unknowns with this one.

Obviously if something came out that stated there is reason to believe he had ill intentions I might change my opinion.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

Based on the article, I think the school is wrong. He made a mistake, admitted to it and turned it in. I think a warning is okay but not a suspension.