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UPDATED: First Grader Back to School After Facing Expulsion for Pot

Mother of 6-year-old appealed toA├┐Richmond Public Schools' disciplinary committee.


UPDATE: A discipline committee for the Richmond Public School Board reinstated the 6-year-old student at hearing held Thursday afternoon. The pupil will be allowed to return to class Monday.

The mother of a 6-year-old in the Richmond Public Schools says she's appealing the recommended expulsion of her first-grade son for possession of marijuana.

The pupil, enrolled at G. H. Reid Elementary, was on the playground with his classmates in November when he approached the physical education teacher on duty and pulled a plastic bag containing marijuana out of his pocket, according to the mother. “Look at this,” he said. “This is weed. My mother gave it to me.”

Style Weekly isn't revealing the identity of the pupil because of his age, but confirmed details of the incident with his mother.

The P.E. instructor and another teacher questioned the child and escorted him to the school's front office, his mother says. There he was questioned again by a school security officer.

He was suspended for 10 days pending a hearing before school disciplinary officer, who recommended expulsion on Nov. 30. The hearing officer followed the school system's standards of student conduct.

He's the only elementary school student expelled from Richmond Public Schools for incidents related to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs from at least 2005 to the 2009-'10 school years, according to statistics supplied to the Virginia Department of Education.

The mother says her son actually obtained the baggie from another family member. “I would never put my son's life in jeopardy,” she says.

Before the pupil's expulsion, his mother was studying at Centura College to become a nurse's assistant. She's since had to drop her classes to take care of her son, she says. His three siblings are enrolled in the Richmond Public Schools.

According to the school district's code of conduct, expelled elementary pupils are banned from attending city schools for a year, after which they can apply for reinstatement.

The Henrico and Chesterfield county schools are unwilling to admit pupils expelled from other school districts during the term of their expulsion. With private school a financial impossibility, the child's mother says, she's investing her hopes in a successful appeal, scheduled before the School Board's discipline committee on Jan. 6.

Her son is “no angel,” she says. But he's an honor roll pupil who “shouldn't be punished for others' mistakes.”

Correction: A Richmond Schools disciplinary officer recommended the 6-year-old student be expelled from school Nov. 30. In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly reported that theA├┐School Board's displinary committee recommended expulsion. We regret the error.

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