Family fighting school over allegations of drug use

November 19, 2010 5:13:25 PM PST
A student was punished, taken out of class for being high on drugs at school. But this student says he wasn't high -- he was sick. The student is a junior at Cy Woods High School. The problem is he can't come back to school until he spends six weeks in the alternative learning center because administrators at his school says he came to class high on drugs. But his parents say that's not the case.

Latchmi Rawatiraman remembers what her son looked like when she picked him up from school on October 1 and drove him to the emergency room.

She said, "He was shaking, his eyes were red, his hands were cold."

According to a copy of the school nurse's report, Jonathan suffered from chills and a fever. School administrators told his parents Jonathan was high on drugs. In a letter, teachers described Jonathan's speech as "very slurred" and said he was staggering in the hallway. They suspended him from school, citing he was "under the influence of a controlled substance or dangerous drug" -- a level four offense.

Jonathan Persaud recalled, "I felt that gagging and that acidy taste in my mouth. I said that I needed to throw up, so I looked at the coach and said, 'I gotta throw up, I gotta go.' And I walked straight out."

Jonathan says he was just sick with a virus. His medical tests from the same day show he was treated for chronic sinusitis, dehydration, dizziness and headache.

His parents submitted a hair sample one month later to check for drugs in his system. The lab results all came back negative.

Jonathan's father Rakesh Persaud said, "The date in question is only one month back and the test goes back three months."

But the school still won't let him back in. His parents filed a grievance with the school, but say the school never got back with them. Now they are considering a lawsuit while they home school their son.

Latchmi asked, "How can you refuse to look at the evidence that would 100 percent exonerate my child and say, 'You know what? We made a mistake.'"

The school district can't speak to specific student records, but in general a spokesperson tells me that if a parent or physician submits a record that verifies drug testing, it would be taken into account when assessing a student's punishment.


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