The mother of a Blue Earth Area High School student says her son’s two-day suspension was due to an outdated policy in the student code of conduct.
And, she is recommending that district officials update it.
Janel Buseman attended the School Board meeting Monday night to ask board members to consider changing a tobacco policy she says in inconsistent and ambiguous.
“It’s frustrating,” says Buseman, following the meeting. “You feel helpless and it’s disheartening.”
Buseman says her son was suspended after admitting to school staff he had used a vaporizer in the past and having the item in his vehicle.
The district’s policy calls for disciplinary action for possession, use, and/or transmission of tobacco in any form, but does not mention vaporizers.
Buseman was told the district follows a Minnesota School Board Association model policy that classifies a vaporizer as tobacco paraphernalia, and use or possession of one is a violation of Minnesota State High School League policy.
“In my 20 years that I have been involved in this school district I have never seen this model policy nor have I ever heard anyone mention it,” she says.
According to Buseman, her son did not believe he was violating district policy when he purchased the vaporizer and non-nicotine juice.
“The night of his suspension he was for drugs, including marijuana, heroin and nicotine, and none were present in his system,” she says.
District officials notified Buseman by phone her son was being suspended and gave her a suspension letter during parent-teacher conferences.
“My son did not use or possess tobacco on school grounds, which was the reason for his suspension,” she says.
Buseman would like to have the suspension reversed and taken off his school records because he is a straight-A student. But, district officials have told her they cannot appeal their decision.