School officials in Wake County, North Carolina have a lot of people scratching their heads.
They suspended 15-year-old Jakayla Johnson for possession of marijuana based solely on their opinion that her hands smelled like weed, KSNT-TV reports.
Jakayla told the outlet that a school resource officer smelled marijuana smoke coming from a classroom at Garner Magnet High School, and singled her out as the suspect from among a group of about 30 other students. A search of Jakayla, a sophomore, yielded no evidence of the drug. Nevertheless, school officials decided to give her a five-day suspension because her fingers supposedly smelled of cannabis.
WNCN-TV obtained a Wake County School document that explained the reason for the suspension: “… for her hands to smell so pungently of marijuana she would have to have possessed it in her hands at some recent point in time.”
Jakayla’s mother, Tameka Johnson, couldn’t believe it. “I said not my child. You have the wrong child, because I know my child,” she told KSNT-TV.
Johnson took Jakayla for lab work to prove her innocence. And indeed, the teenager tested negative. But school officials disregarded the test results and upheld Jakayla’s suspension. The mother is now concerned that this stain on Jakayla’s record will continue to follow her.
KSNT-TV said Wake County schools would not respond to questions about the case because of student privacy.
Johnson must now appeal to the school board to clear her daughter’s name.