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Yorktown Girl Sues District Officials Over Pot Suspension

The student and her mother had filed a lawsuit claiming the student was treated unfairly when she was suspended from school over possession of a marijuana cigarette.

A 14-year-old Yorktown High School student and her mother have filed a lawsuit against the school district, the superintendent of schools, high school principal and assistant principal after the freshman girl was suspended from school for a year for being in possession of a marijuana cigarette.

According to court documents, the student – referred to as "A.S" – had a marijuana cigarette in her wallet when she attended a "movie night" at the high school on Dec. 21, 2012. During the movie, the student told her friend that she had a marijuana cigarette. Later in the evening an older student – referred to as "Jane Smith" – approached the freshman girl, asked for the cigarette and was given it.

According to the lawsuit (attached to this article), there was no disciplinary action against "Jane Smith."

About two and a half weeks later, the girl, a high honor roll student, was brought to the assistant principal's office when she explained she had not smoked the marijuana cigarette not had she intended to smoke it, according to the lawsuit filed on Jan. 29. 

During the meeting, disciplinary proceedings began against the 14-year-old student, who was given a five-day suspension and required to complete three-counseling sessions with the school therapist. 

The lawsuit claims, when assistant principal Randall Glading was speaking to the student, he did not close the door of his office, other students heard the conversation, which caused "A.S. embarrassment and other emotional harm."

The 14-year-old girl, who according to the lawsuit is a naturalized U.S. citizen and had immigrated with her mother from Russia when she was 6 years old, has no prior suspensions.  

At a later meeting on Jan. 9, the girl and her mother were informed the student would be suspended for one academic year, but she would be allowed to return to school, on a probationary basis, in three months. 

The lawyer for the family states in the lawsuit that they were "railroaded" and "threatened that if they did not agree to the one-year suspension, and continued to a hearing," there might be a longer suspension. 

"The disciplinary action imposed by defendants, violated Plaintiffs' substantive due process right, in that it was arbitrary and capricious, and failed to adhere to standards of fundamental fairness, as the disciplinary action imposed was not appropriate to the serious nature of the offense and did not consider the absence of any previous disciplinary record," Chappaqua based lawsuits Todd J. Krouner and Diana M. Carlino wrote in the lawsuit.

Yorktown Central School District Spokesperson Karli Wheeler said the district cannot comment out of respect for the student and the law.

"The district cannot comment on personal matters," she said.

According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking unspecified damages for "emotional distress, current and future medical and related counseling bills, current and future, educational and related expenses, punitive damages, costs and attorneys' fees."

In addition, the family is seeking the school district to expunge the student's records in reference to all disciplinary actions and allow her to return to school.  

The lawyers for the family said a Court’s order states that the school district’s response to an Order to Show Cause is due on Feb. 4. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure state that a defendant must answer within 21 days of being served with the summons and complaint.

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Sir February 02, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Fire the Principal.
EB February 02, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Unfortunately there are way too many other parents of Yorktown High School students who share the same sentiment as the mother of this child. I agree with Mr. McVetty, that there is no definitive way to know for sure what this girl was in possession of. Also, this school district does not believe in due process... They are the judge and the jury in all student discipline and have taken many past situations and blown seemingly trivial matters totally out of proportion. I've experienced their "kangaroo court" antics first hand and I was ashamed... not of what my child had done (which by the way, wasn't even during the school year) but by the way the school's administration had handled the situation. If I had any say with regards to the future of our school administrators, they would all be looking for employment elsewhere.
Christine February 02, 2013 at 01:47 PM
This girl allegedly brought illegal drugs into our schools, the schools in which my children are enrolled. I am not okay with that. Why should the fact that she is an honor student have anything to do with it? Are non-honor students the bad kids who should be punished for breaking the law? To me, it only highlights that she is intelligent and should know better. If my child were the child she "gave" her drugs to, I would be livid. How many more of our children have to die before we take the problem of drugs seriously?
Sami February 02, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Agreed- if she not only brought drugs into school, but then just gave them to another student, it goes beyond just her. How do we know she didnt arranage this from 'Jane Smith' during school and accept payment for the pot then? Then it goes beyond just using illegal drugs, but now selling them..Parents today don't want to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their child- instead of disciplining her daughter, she of course makes her daughter feel like she is a victim and the school is in the wrong. Grow up and teach your kids to take accountability for their actions. Being an honor roll student means you get good grades, doesnt mean youre a great person who does no wrong. As far as being bullied into taking the punishment- it is the same as in court. They offer you a plea and tell you if you dont take it the punishment MIGHT be worse. They didnt say it WOULD be worse. If your child is guilty of nothing, then why not move forward with the hearing? Obviously there is more to this story than what is in this article and I would imagine the school has evidence to back their punishment. Why should we all now have to pay so her family can get a nice settlement?!
Patrick February 02, 2013 at 02:31 PM
When I was in HS (my son is a freshman in YHS) if you got caught with drugs of any kind first you would get the crap beat out of you, then you would get expelled. Then your parents would beat the crap out of you.
AB February 02, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Yorktown is going crazy with their suspensions, one the 2nd day of school 22 seniors were suspended for the entire academic year and were allowed back in the school on varying dates such as October 1st, 15th and November 1st. Being one of those students the process that they use is very flawed. They scared each and every one of us into taking a "deal" they had put on the table for us to take which meant that we would take our suspension and they wouldn't have to show us any evidence when all of us could of sued on multiple different clauses. I respect this girl for what she is doing and I hope she beats the system.
Anne Iacobuzio February 02, 2013 at 06:42 PM
There is a complete lack of common sense in the Yorktown School District. I'm sorry I did not sue.
Holycrapbatman February 02, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Sounds like a "Law and Order" episode... or maybe she was a left over cast member from Cheech and Chong's "Up in Smoke." Did anyone take DNA off the Maryjane Wana cigarette? Maybe Yorktown CSI can figure it out... oh wait, that hasn't been made into a TV series yet. Surely this episode as "Yorktown Spins" will be available and we can all watch to see who did what and how they saved the town from another low life student.that did something wrong at the age of 14. Come on mom, next time lock up your stash like the rest of us do.
Patrick February 02, 2013 at 11:57 PM
I moved to Yorktown because the school system is superior. If you want your kids to get away with smoking pot all you have to do is move to Yonkers. Then your kid can get high and you won't have to sue the school system.
kmr303 February 03, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Those of you who have never had the "privilege" of going to a superintendent's hearing, please do not pass judgment. First of all, this girl was punished. What about the older girl, "Jane Smith"? She had possession of the marijuana, as well, and apparently received no punishment. Perhaps her parent is on the school board or works for the school ... who knows. But as far as the hearing is concerned, I can tell you firsthand, you have more rights in an actual court of law. They tell you the hearing officer is "fair and impartial." Well, guess what. He is paid by the Yorktown School District. That is hardly "fair and impartial." And I agree, kids need to learn to take responsibility for their actions; however, I will say it again: the punishment must fit the crime. Suspend them for the 5 days, or even internally suspend them so they can remain in school, and EDUCATE them. Talk to them. Be a role model. Utilize the police officer they have on campus and have him speak to them. Make them do community service. But don't cast them aside like a common criminal, otherwise you run the risk of turning them into one ...
Bob Rohr February 03, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Truth be told a child on "suspension" is going to be educated, that is the Law and you can look it up. They will be educated. There are a Parents for whatever reason get in the face of anyone they feel has somehow slighted their child. You see it on sports teams all the time. They berate the Coach because their kid is not getting field time etc. When you see the kid play you can tell why, they don't have it. The kid may be phenomenal in something else, but is not an athlete, which is OK. Some folks children in their eyes can do no wrong, my kid right or wrong. They will never let their child suffer any consequences for their actions. I have to tell you the outside World is not going to be kind to your child. They fail to perform or break Company policy, they are on the street. I was on the BOE and people I knew would come to me, or people would call me. If a kid was caught smoking tobacco and getting a slap on the wrist, I would advise the Parents, let your kid take the lesson. You want a loose drug policy in your Schools, support the Parents who remain in denial. As far a lawsuits, hardly a week went by that a notice of claim did not come in. It becomes very routine.
Juan Ortiz February 03, 2013 at 06:56 PM
This the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I believe a suspension was due but a year suspension is harsh and unwarranted. I am a father of 3 children over 20 and have 2 children now under 10. In all my years of raising my children in Brooklyn and Putnam County, never have I seen a more outlandish sentence. The other young lady Jane Smith, where is her culpability and punishment? Who at the district level monitors these "rulings"? I assume these rules are posted and given to the parents? Overall, a suspension is warranted to both young ladies but not without a clear discussion with the parents and a procedure to appeal these arbitrary rulings.
David February 04, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Why weren't the police called? If this terrible joint has such a detrimental affect, who possessed it for those 2 weeks? Where is this joint now? Seriously, lets see the evidence. Being caught on school property with a joint does not give the administrators the authority to circumvent the law. Whomever is in possession now or in possession of it until they did whatever they did with it, is equally as guilty, of possession of marijuana, less that 25 grams, which is a violation, not even a crime. Which administrator has possession of it? Call S.W.A.T. to his house.
kmr303 February 04, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Mr. Rohr, I agree with everything you say, but you miss my point when I say educate them. I know they get their big two hours a day for academics ... what I am talking about is a social education. Make it clear to them that what they did is wrong, and why. That is why I mentioned the police officer on campus. Use him. Let him talk to them about their actions, why what they did is wrong on a social level. And I'll say it again, let the punishment fit the crime. A year is excessive. Period. I know what you mean when you talk about parents who excuse everything their child does. That does not help the child. A lot of parents have lost or never had the ability to discipline. But do you really think kicking a child out of school for a full year is a good thing? Give him or her an internal suspension, but keep the kid in school. At least then they have to get up every morning and be somewhere. Isolation is not the answer.
Maria Hull February 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM
More frivolous lawsuits. Stop it. Not calling the cops is a good thing...no criminal record. If she gave it to someone else could that be considered dealing? She is not the victim here. The rest of the students who she comes in contact with are.
DC February 04, 2013 at 08:34 PM
She brought an illegal substance into a drug free school zone. By doing this she put more students at risk than just herself. She needs to understand the consequences of her actions and maybe this suspension will give her the chance. To everyone saying that a year is a lot for this incident, the article clearly states it is a 1 year suspension but she will be allowed back in three months on a probationary period. People will do anything for money and to get the attention of the news and community. Do not take your bad parenting out on our school districts or the administrators who have dedicated their lives to first protecting your children and second educating them for the future.
Francis T McVetty February 04, 2013 at 09:46 PM
DC, she brought an illegal substance into the school, really? Says who, Jane Smith? Too much she say, she says. The facts are so muddled that a just conclusion will have to come from the court system. This could have been handled much better with out a law suit, but sometimes the system doesn't let you do that. In this case that's what it looks like happened.
jmecrkt February 05, 2013 at 03:18 AM
A little over a year ago MESMS was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. You would have to look long and hard to find 1 comment about this outstanding achievement. But, this latest incident draws out the best of this sad society we are living in. The only fact I have read is that a student was in possession of marijuana on school property. The last time I glanced at the Student Code of Conduct, this was a serious offense. The district doled out a decision and is criticized for being too harsh. It's interesting that just a few years back, previous administrations were criticized for being too lenient. That being said, I find it quite entertaining that a parent and child is suing the district, in part, because the Asst. Principal spoke to the student in his office with the door open causing embarrassment and emotional harm. Meanwhile they have broadcast this incident all over the front pages of every local paper for all to see. No emotional harm there? The comments of EB and AB sum it up best. Nowhere is there any admission of doing anything wrong, but per EB "we were all scared into taking a deal." AB then states, "I was ashamed...Not by what my child had done (which by the way wasn't even during the school year) but by the way Administration handled the situation." Since so many are the judge and the jury here, I would suggest that EB put out the facts and let all be the judge and decide where the "real shame lies." Negatives can become positive if taught right.
EB February 05, 2013 at 08:23 AM
I find it somewhat ironic that jmecrkt writes here about "facts" pertaining to this lawsuit. How can you make such a comment as " the only fact I have read is a student was in in possession of marijuana..." How can you speak of such "facts"? Were you there with the two girls when the supposed exchange took place? If so, why didn't you take possession of the joint and immediately provide it to the school's police officer so as to maintain integrity of the chain of evidence? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that you don't know of any "facts" as they pertain to this lawsuit. That being said, you missed my point as to what happened with a number of students this past Summer and how the school district dealt with doling out punishment. I, unlike you can speak to "facts" because I was directly involved. There are law enforcement professionals and parents who are speaking about this particular case because of how it hits home for so many of us. Futhermore, you missed another point, being that the school district had no interest in how each family would "punish" their child. I agree that nobody is above the law, but that should also pertain to the school district. Your arguement has no basis in law. Obviously you're entitled to your opinion, but understand this... If this young girl were "busted" anywhere off school grounds with this same "marijuana", a court of law would not, and could not, impose the same sanctions. Sitting home for a year teaches this girl nothing.
Curious February 05, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Upon reading this story, I must admit that the punishment does not fit the crime. It also sounds to me that the buffoon that left his door open when addressing the student should be taken to task. That said, Yorktown is not the sleepy little town that many parents of school age children believe it to be. There is & has been for a long time, a very serious drug problem here and in the surrounding areas. Kids shy away from marijuana because of the odor, its harder to conceal & the YPD are busting them left & right. Because of this, they graduate to prescription pills which, becomes real expensive real fast. Next step? Heroin. Heroin is cheap & is rampant in Yorktown, Somers & Cortlandt as well as Putnam & Dutchess Counties. Call the Lexington Center in Mt. Kisco, any drug councilor there will confirm this. A suspension from school however long it is, is nothing compared to a child addicted to pills & or heroin.
DC February 06, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Francis, It clearly states that she did in fact bring the marijuana cigarette into the school sponsored function on school grounds. It also states that she had not smoked it and had no intention of smoking it BUT the argument isn't about wether or not she had it, the law suit is coming from the fact that the asst. principal did not close the door to his office and "embarrassed her and caused other emotional harm". This is obviously just a play to have this whole situation thrown out of this girls record and the family to gain a little money.
Bob Rohr February 06, 2013 at 05:48 PM
kmr0303, the Child can get an "in School" suspension, which would be the norm.. Violent students are removed from the Building and either sent somewhere else or go to the A School.
Francis T McVetty February 06, 2013 at 09:13 PM
DC, and we believe this [It clearly states that she did in fact bring the marijuana cigarette into the school sponsored function on school grounds] Why? The case was he said, she said. Where are the facts? It figures that someone from "academia" thinks they are in law enforcement. Is this NOT a drug free zone, what ever that means ?
JD February 13, 2013 at 04:08 PM
You are not a buffoon for leaving the door open. It is actual the smartest thing one can do. It protects you against any false accusation that might made against you when dealing with such issues. I am sure their lawyer is only trying to build a case because they are looking for anything that might give them an advantage.
john nardi March 04, 2013 at 11:12 PM
What a load of crap ! I would punish my kid and echo the sentiments of the school district rather than "side" with her then use it as some kind of frivilous attempt to get some money ! What is this kid's family situation ? There are no damages here its alot of bullshit ! The basis here is the kid brought drugs onto school property PERIOD, AMEN !
john nardi March 04, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Really, I wonder who sells it ? I haven't heard anything about it. Thats troubling.
Francis T McVetty March 06, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I guess it is guilty till proved innocent John, right?
john nardi March 06, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Its guilty if your caught. If this were your kid would you be more concerned with justice and law suits and bullshit smoke screens about suspensions or about why your 14 year old is smoking pot ? Only an asshole would side with this parent so why not go to the proctologist and ask him what he thinks !
Teleman March 06, 2013 at 11:29 PM
These parents are morons- typical of this generation of parents whose children can do no wrong- your kid is caught with drugs and you sue the school? unreal
Mike Dobransky March 07, 2013 at 12:39 AM
As far as I read, “A.S” admitted, two and a half weeks later that she had the drug. To me, that’s taking ownership, responsibility and has integrity. The question, why/how did a 5 day suspension turn into remaining academic year, with possible return after three months ? I’m sure a lawsuit would not have been filed for a 5 day suspension. If schools want to crack down on drugs, have a K9 check lockers and walk the floor on a daily basis – they would get a workout !

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