As a former law student at a private university, and public policy major/legal studies minor as an undergrad, I studied constitutional law quite a bit. I took numerous courses that dealt with freedom of speech and search and seizures. Constitutional law always fascinated me because it’s an area of law that affects every American citizen’s lives at one point or another. To know constitutional law and how it has evolved over the years is to know the story of America as one of my professors always said.
Constitutional law and marijuana reform are very much connected. A case that highlights that connection is the case of Krystal Grayhorse, a high school student in the Dallas County School District who was suspended for over half a year because she wrote about marijuana in a private journal. She wasn’t caught possessing marijuana. She didn’t fail a drug test. She didn’t write about marijuana as part of a high school assignment. She talked about marijuana in a private journal that she mistakenly left at school one day. When school officials got a hold of the journal and read the entry about marijuana, they decided that was enough to suspend Ms. Grayhorse for over half a school year, jeopardizing her graduation requirements, which will no doubt impact her life for years to come. Below are comments made by the student’s father, per Springfield News Leader:
Grayhorse said the notebook passages, which he was told about but never saw for himself, were cause for concern, but the punishment — not being allowed to return to school for seven months — was too drastic. He said the journal was confiscated by the school and has not been returned.
“She had no cannabis on her person,” he said. “She gave it to no one.”
He said the discipline paperwork sent home from the school stated his daughter was suspended for “possession of a controlled substance,” which perplexes him. He said she was not tested for drugs.
“Her ‘possession’ constitutes writing something?” he asked. “That is the alleged possession?”
It’s truly sad that a school district is willing to potentially ruin a student’s life because they hate marijuana so much. Yes, there is a heightened level of scrutiny for students compared to adult citizens. But students don’t leave their civil rights at the school house door. These were not comments made in a public forum. These were comments made in a journal where there was clearly a high expectation of privacy, and even if not, the journal entry didn’t involve actual possession of marijuana, nor did the student fail a drug test. The student wasn’t even asked to take a drug test. The school simply saw the word ‘marijuana,’ freaked out, and instantly went on a mission to prosecute this girl the fullest extent. Shame on the school district. I hope the father sues and the school district has to pay out the nose.