Student fights expulsion and ‘zero tolerance’ drug policy

Pushed into the legal arena by tyrannical government school officials waving the fascist banner of “zero tolerance,” high school students are now graduating with more court experience than sports experience. Armando Adrovet of Medina County, Ohio, is in court fighting an expulsion for a single seed and some “flakes” of marijuana that were found during a car search by police.The case stems from a series of drug-related arrests on May 13th at Adrovet’s high school. Police arrested more than one dozen students, including one student who was Adrovet’s passenger that morning. As part of the drug bust, police then asked for and received permission from Adrovet to search his car, in which they found the marijuana seed and flakes.

The police did not charge him with a crime. However, Adrovet’s school board was not as rational. The board took advantage of the district’s “zero tolerance” policy and voted to bar him from school until Dec. 14th.

Adrovet’s lawsuit claims that the local school board’s “zero tolerance” policy violated his basic right of due process. The lawsuit asks the court to overturn the expulsion and allow Adrovet to return to school this fall for his senior year. Adrovet’s attorney, George W. Macdonald, argued that the policy was unfair and illegal because it doesn’t require evidence that a student knowingly brought drugs to school.

“Due process has always required that a person not have his property or liberty taken from him unless he has knowingly done something wrong,” Macdonald wrote in the lawsuit complaint. “Our founding fathers would spin in their graves if they could hear a public official mindlessly parrot a slogan (“zero tolerance”) as reason for dispensing with the due process which has been part of our Bill of Rights since 1790.”

The fifth and fourteenth amendments guarantee your due process rights, which means that you must be given a fair hearing or trial. The Fifth Amendment specifically states that no person shall, “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” by the Federal government. The fourteenth amendment adds that state governments may also not violate your due process rights.

a person cannot be deprived of life or liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards.

According to dictonary.com, due process is the administration of justice according to established rules and principles; based on the principle that a person cannot be deprived of life or liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards.

Since the police asked for permission to search his car, Adrovet possibly could have denied their request but not stopped them if they proceeded. Had he done this, he possibly could have sued the city for violating his rights.

Zero tolerance has become the “sign on the wall.” Many stores have signs that say, “no refunds or exchanges,” or, “no refunds without a receipt.” Often store employees will say, “I’d love to give you a refund, but the sign won’t allow me.” Most customers will then leave and accept defeat. However, more aggressive customers will say, “May I speak with the person who wrote the refund policy,” or, “I can see the sign but I still want a refund.”

When faced with irrational zero tolerance policies, you can say, “I’ve read the zero tolerance policy, but has a judge read it?” If not, you have the right to ask the courts to overturn the zero tolerance policy, which probably includes many areas of unconstitutionality.

Many of these policies are written without a concern for constitutionality. School board officials simply want some written policy that they can wave in the air while they trample on your rights. Fortunately, courageous individuals like Armando Androvet are fighting back to uphold due process rights for students nationwide.

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