A Columbus mother said she may appeal today's decision by the Muscogee County school tribunal to uphold her son’s 10 day-suspension for having red, glassy eyes at the Rose Hill Alternative Center.
Chandra Crawford said her 16-year-old son, Jaquais Dozier, was accused of being under the influence of marijuana when he came to school Nov. 28. The tribunal upheld his suspension, which included a field sobriety test performed by the Columbus Police Department.
“At this hearing, they just railroad my baby,” Crawford said after the 10 a.m. hearing. “On this day, I had him drug tested and it showed prescription medication in his system with no trace of marjuana and no other drugs.”
Johnny Freeman, principal of the school, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment on the suspension. Valerie Fuller, the school district’s director of communication, wasn't available for comment.
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Crawford said she is concerned the suspension will affect her son’s ability to return to his home school, Jordan High School. He was sent to alternative center after teachers said he was smoking marijuana during a lunch break. The son said he was smoking a Black and Mild, a small cigar.
On that day in November, Crawford said she was called to the school and Freeman said the teen’s eyes looked red and glassy. “The police officer came and I gave my permission to do the field sobriety test because I knew my son hadn’t smoked any marijuana that morning,” Crawford said.
During the test by the officer, Crawford said her son takes medication so his eyes could be dilated. The officer noted that if the teen is on prescription medication, he could appear to be under the influence. Based on the test, Freeman suspended the teen for 10 days.
To determnine if her son was under the influence, Crawford said he was tested at New Horizons and test came back negative. She also said he did not fail the field sobriety test.
Crawford also questioned the police report which was filed Wednesday, two weeks after the incident. The mother said the officer never mentioned anything about prescription medication her son was taking.
“I have a lot of concerns with this case cause it is just not fair,” she said.
Even before her son was suspended for 10 days, Crawford said the principal warned the teen about marijuana and being under the influence. On Nov. 19, the principal said he thought the teen’s eyes looked red. “He pulled him to the side and smelled him, the lining of his pockets, his jacket, shirt and looked for any marijuana,” the mother said. “He deemed that he did not smell anything or found anything. He warned Jaquais that if he hadn’t done anything, that’s fine. 'If you have, don’t do it anymore cause you can get in trouble.' ”