Yes, You read the title correct.
Outrageous you say. I agree. Horrible you say. I agree. Does this make you irate. It does me also, especially since it is so personal. It happened to my son. Could it happen to yours?
My son, a 7th Grade student in the Newport Mesa School District, was pulled into the Vice Principle’s Office and Interrogated with a Police Officer present. All before I even received a phone call.
What was his crime….Drinking Kombucha at School
Apparently, He violated the School Drug and Alcohol Policy. The “deemed” alcoholic beverage was confiscated from my son during lunch on Tuesday, October 9th because it was in a glass bottle. On Wednesday, he was isolated from his peers and classes and spent the whole day in the Vice Principles office. I have no idea what was being said during this time or how it made him feel during this as I was not there. He had no advocate. They were not listening to anything he had to say. They treated him as a criminal. My son, a Honor Student..apparently labeled an alcoholic that day.
Every parent hates a call from the school. Whether its the nurse, counselor, or principle, it still causes my heart to sink. AND I will admit, I have had many. Unfortunately, they HAVE previously been due to my son’s difficult behavior. He has ADHD and has struggled with it all his life. Its not his fault. I fed him a diet of processed food and although I tried to regulate sugar consumption at home…He would find ways to consume it. He was addicted. After problems myself with the Western Diet I began to get in touch with My Real Foodie. 8 months, and many Real Food books later. A new lifestyle was born. My son, at the time was visiting his Dad and Grandparents over the summer has only been receiving the benefits of Real Food for 2 months now. I feared for his transition. I feared the school. I feared the kids at school. I feared he would Fear all of this.
So, I traded in his Sugar Addiction for a Kombucha Addiction. Great Trade if you ask me!
The best part…He LOVES our new lifestyle. He LOVES Kombucha. He LOVES educating the other students on the detriments of processed food and sugar. He has fully embraced being “different”. I am one proud momma! So, how does he deserve this?
On Wednesday morning around 10am, I received a call from my sons Vice Principle. She informed me that Gavin had a beverage taken away yesterday because it was glass. The School Security gave the bottle to the Vice Principle after taking it from my son as he was concerned because it said it Contained .5% alcohol. He also overheard my son reading the label to the students and one of the kids asked Gavin about the Alcohol, In which my son said. “Its not the type of alcohol you get drunk from, Its from fermenting” Now, I realize it does contain trace amounts of alcohol, but I have never sat down my son and had a talk with him about consuming it and the alcohol. Perhaps I should have so he could have defended himself better.
The phone call I received from the Vice Principle was very abrasive. It went like this: Hello, Gavin had a beverage taken away yesterday at school and we are going to be sending him home today because on the label it says this contains .5% alcohol and this violates our Drug and Alcohol Policy. He will be suspended for 5 days. I then, informed her that Kombucha:
- Is not deemed by the FDA as an alcohol beverage.
- He can purchase it himself at the store.
- The alcohol produced is due to fermentation and that label HAS to be there for FDA.
- I brought it to him for lunch.
Well, I wasn’t getting far. She was not listening to me. Finally, fed up and with my heart beating fast I informed her. “My son will not be treated this way, I do not like the way you are verbalizing this, I will not have you telling my son this is a drug and alcohol when it has not been researched yet and If they suspend him, there will be a fight. She would not listen to me and informed me that I would have to Appeal this considering it was turned into the district.
Very upset, confused, alone and lost. I decided to go for professional advice, Sarah at The Healthy Home Economist. (Read her tell my story HERE, Child-suspended-from-school-for-kombucha-in-lunchbox) Sarah has been so pleasant, helpful, and supportive to me in this horrible situation.
My son came home from school and we were discussing the day over lunch. That is when I got more of the story. My son informed me:
- There was a Police Officer there, who informed him drinking this beverage is against the law. The beverage he has was illegal. AND Tried to enroll his in a AA for kids??!! AND talked to him about Drinking and Medications and asked him right out…If he takes any pills also!!! WHAT!?! Where am I..Oh, and Home..Thinking all is well. Or perhaps this happened after I received the call. Why wasn’t I informed my son was being talked to like this? Why was I not informed there was a Police Officer there? Why wasn’t I invited to come right away BEFORE all of this transpired. Who are they to ask my 11 year old these questions!!?
- The school Vice Principle told him they were looking into transferring him out of that school.
- They pulled his school record and went over his “problematic” history. Obviously, trying to make him feel responsible and teach him a lesson???
I immediately began calling the school repeatedly to speak with the Principle. Finally, I was able to get in to see the Vice Principle. My meeting with her made me feel, ridiculous, confused, outraged, ridiculed and blamed. I can only imagine how it made my son feel.
She played down the whole incident. She even told me that there was NOT a police officer there, It was simply the school’s officer. Which, after another meeting with the PRINCIPLE today, it was a uniformed officer that DOES work for the Police Dept. WHAT!?! She also acts like this wasn’t really a big deal. She informed Sara, at The Healthy Home Economist (She called them, doesn’t she rock!!!) that my son never got suspended, however he signed a 5 day suspension form.
We met with the Principle today and informed her how we felt the whole process was handled so poorly. We told her we were hurt and NOBODY has apologized to my son or us. She apologized on behalf of the school and offered to bring in my son to apologize to him in person, but what about how this was handles. I am still upset, what if my son gets teased now? What if he gets treated as a troubled kid from now on. What about overreacting and doing this negative interrogating without me present.
The principle was very nice and receptive. She seemed to understand me, but held firm to they just have no tolerance when it comes to Drugs and Alcohol and that they had to react this seriously so that other children didn’t think its okay to bring alcohol. “We are super strict and don’t even let the kids where shirts that reference alcohol or drugs.” Okay, I am glad for that, but I don’t really see this situation as the same thing. I really don’t know WHAT would make me feel better about this or that this was okay, because I don’t and it wasn’t. It really made me look into home schooling, but I don’t want to further make my son feel bad.
Share your thoughts with me, Would this upset you? Has anything like this happened to you?