Canada: student suspended for opinion on pot

By Heretic.Ape. · Jun 14, 2007 · ·
  1. Heretic.Ape.

    REGINA ( SNN ) -- Kieran King says he has never smoked pot, but his views on marijuana have led to his suspension from Wawota Parkland School.

    King said he was threatened with police action by principal Susan Wilson after telling friends at the school that marijuana was less harmful than alcohol.

    "In my opinion, cannabis is safer than they say, it is not worse than alcohol or tobacco," said King, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student. Wilson accused King of using and selling marijuana at school, according to a media release issued by the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party. King has offered to submit to a voluntary drug test to prove otherwise.

    "I've never smoked marijuana. I've never even seen it," said King, an honours student.

    He said he had done independent research on marijuana use out of personal curiosity and decided to share the information.

    Feeling his right to freedom of speech had been violated by Wilson, he organized a walkout to begin at 11:05 a.m. on Tuesday.

    Instead, he said the school was locked down in anticipation of the attempted walkout. King and his brother Lucas were given three-day-suspensions for disobeying the lockdown.

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  1. old hippie 56
    Bush anti-drug tactics are reaching our neighbors to the north.
  2. Heretic.Ape.
    The United States' drug policies and propaganda have and continue to poison the minds and policies of the rest of the world. Why can't other countries seem to say "fuck the US, they have horrible crime rates, etc. We're not going to follow their bullshit!" ?
  3. Euphoric
    All the power to the kid. Good for him, hope this raises awareness and he gets to laugh in the schools face for wrongful accusation, and manages to make them admit that his research is correct and accurate :) Wishful thinking maybe...
  4. VicoNoNo

    Anyways, as far (yah off topic some what?) A person murders somone (maybe a grandmother) this guy is a total piece of shit and only gets like 7yrs-10. Yet, a man/women that grew a number of plants that god created (Marijuana,weed) get almost the same sentence 6yrs in prison. Wow, our court system is just wonderful and balanced the US will never be like Canada or Europe anytime soon..(if ever!)
  5. grandbaby
    Another example of the First Commandment of Civilized Society: Thou shalt not oppose or embarrass those in power. (Where did I read that recently?) This is pretty draconian and it looks like they're going to get away with it, unless the media jumps on it and makes it blow up in their faces - it's not being widely reported on at all. I suggest everyone pick a handful of Canadian media outlets and email them with a news tip about it.

    (Canada's a pretty small country, and Regina's a very small city; a little public outcry can go a long way there.)
  6. sterling77
    Major props to that kid.
  7. Nagognog2
    Welter-Weight Attornies to the kid! Nail the fuckers where it hurts - sever their Financial Arteries!
  8. Swimster
    LOL- Every loony(gov.,school authoritie's, etc) seem to favor whats legal! They assume that the legal substances are safer. This is the problem! We all know like the kid said, is true. But average people seem to listen to the gov. too much. I wish the government would share ALL info on a substance(say...marijuana) instead of nothing but the bad stuff. That way, the average joe, can then be educated on it, it ain't like an average person is going to care legal or not if they enjoy it.

    ~lol- sorry off-topic..but.. you know..
  9. The Doors
    I can't really say that I'm shocked to see this kind of event happening here, it's not really heard of but with the recent conservative movement throughout the planet, Canada seems to be heading that way too - unfortunately. I don't think all hope is lost, but police have been a lot more present lately. I hope the kids parents sue.

    SWIM remembers having a debate in class back in grade 10 on the status of marijuana in our society and the majority of people (even though they were still young) seemed to be for the legalization other then the fact that they could have access to it, they realized that it was an efficient medicine.

    Either way, this is quite the bullshit to suspend a kid for his opinion while they always encourage us to speak out.
  10. Nagognog2
    Oh does Mr. Director like legal chemicals? I hope the janitor cleans his office with Clorox and ammonia and closes the door and waits for morning.
  11. MrJim
    Regina is our heartland. That would never happen in the bulk of canada. SWIM and his buddies once posted a couple of hundred posters of marijuana leaves all over his high school back in the day and put slogans on them saying things such as "Week of the Weed is Coming" and other lame brained statements (hey we were in high school - there was no internet then). When they called one of SWIMS friends into the principals office about this and mentioned possible suspention he mentioned possible freedom of speech infringements. That was that. They dropped it.
  12. Powder_Reality
    Believe SWIM when he says that Saskatchewan isn't the most pot-friendly province in Canada (which is kinda weird considering that it's an NDP-governed province). I'm sure some fellow Canadian members remember Marc Emery's "Summer of Legalization Tour" a few years back? For those that aren't familiar with it, here's a little history on it: Canadian pot-activist Marc Emery started a country-wide "smoke-out" tour in the summer of 2003 when Ontario legalized possession of marijuana (the law didn't last very long). The tour was a campaign for legalization, which consisted mostly of Emery travelling across the country and smoking pot in front of police stations. If memory serves SWIM right, he was arressted twice, once in Manitoba and once in Regina. The police just ignored him pretty much everywhere else.

    Canada's present Conservative government has already expressed that they favour increasing drug enforcement laws, including shutting down the only safe-injection site in North America (Insite, located in Vancouver's downtown east-side). Stephen Harper has his nose so far up Bush's ass he can probably smell what ol' Dubya had for lunch. But be that as it may, there are some things that Canadians won't stand for. We are predominantly a very left-wing country, and most of us strongly believe that marijuana should be legal/decriminalized; Harper wouldn't dare start a U.S.-style drug war in Canada, or he would face a severe revolt from the majority of the population.

    As a reply to heretic.ape, Canada also wouldn't dare legalize drugs/drug use. Unfortunately, doing so would probably lead to the United States tightening the Canadian/U.S. border and possibly threaten our economic trade.

    But anyways, SWIM is getting off-topic. Let him end by just saying that he hopes this story gets widespread coverage and someone gets fired over it. This is a blatant violation of that kid's freedom of speech and basic human rights (but then again, so are the drug laws themselves).
  13. Broshious
    I'm surprised they gave up so easily.
  14. MrJim
    Those swimmers were surprised to have to discuss it with them in the first place.
  15. Nagognog2
    Bongo's crew gave his school's director a nervous breakdown and he quit. He was convinced the school was a front for an underground drug-lab and he was the only one who didn't know it. Poor guy.

    He was almost right.
  16. grandbaby
    I hope Bongo's working on his autobiography. From little nuggets like the above scattered throughout these forums it sounds like it would be a hell of a read.
  17. AntiAimer
    So really he got suspended for breaking school rules, not for his opinion. There lucky they didn't get tickets for ditching.
  18. Durd1e
    That is the single most grotesque knee jerk reaction abuse of power I have ever heard of.
  19. Motorhead
    Some more details about this interesting story.


    Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail, June 20, 2007

    Saskatchewan Student's Marijuana Research Spurs Lockdown And Suspension

    WINNIPEG -- It started months ago when Kieran King's high-school class heard a presentation about the dangers of drug use.

    Kieran, a 15-year-old Grade 10 student in tiny Wawota, Sask., population 600, thought the presentation lacked credibility, so he did some research on the relative health risks of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

    When he told some of his fellow students that cannabis seemed the least hazardous of the three, he set in motion a series of events that led to a school lockdown, a threat assessment involving the RCMP, a suspension and failing grades on his exams.

    "It's all a bit overwhelming," his mother, Jo Anne Euler, said. "It's just totally bizarre."

    She explained that her son is a compulsive researcher who tends to go on at length about what he reads on the Internet.

    One student at Wawota Parkland School didn't want to hear Kieran's thoughts about marijuana, and complained to principal Susan Wilson.

    The principal then called Kieran's mother because she was concerned he was advocating drug use, Ms. Euler said.

    Ms. Euler told the principal her son is an A student who doesn't go out, doesn't smoke or drink, and isn't pushing drugs on other kids.

    "She said 'Well, if he talks about it again, I will be calling the police,' " Ms. Euler said. "I told Kieran that and he said 'Mom, all I'm doing is sharing the facts.' "

    Kieran felt his right to free speech was being trampled, so he enlisted the help of the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party.

    Together they planned a school walkout for free speech, scheduled for 11 a.m. last Tuesday, where free chocolate chip hemp seed cookies would be handed out.

    But just before 11 that day, the principal announced that the school was a closed campus and that no one was allowed outside.

    When several students tried to leave anyway, teachers barred the doors and ordered them back to class, Ms. Euler said. Kieran and his younger brother Lucas defied and joined a ragtag group of five protesters standing across from the school holding placards.

    The principal then ordered a lockdown to ensure the safety of students. The RCMP raced to the scene, only to find a small, peaceful protest.

    Kieran's mother was again called to the school and told that both her sons had been suspended for three days. Later that day, the school conducted a threat assessment on Kieran with the help of the RCMP and school division counsellors, Ms. Euler said.

    "In the letter I got about the threat assessment [the principal] had documented five or six times in the last year that Kieran had talked to some kid about marijuana - not one of those times was Kieran ever talked to or was I ever talked to. Were they documented before or was it a witch hunt after the fact where they said 'Let's try to remember all the times Kieran talked about marijuana?' "

    Don Rempel, director of education in the South East Cornerstone School Division, said the principal acted appropriately.

    "The school had received complaints that the student was promoting the use of marijuana as an alternative to alcohol or sharing information around marijuana use," Mr. Rempel said, adding that Kieran overreacted to the principal's simple request.

    Kieran is now in Shanghai where he will spend the summer learning Mandarin and working as an English tutor. He had scheduled his exams early in order to accommodate his trip, but the suspension meant he couldn't attend school to write the exams. As a result, he got a mark of zero on each paper. His marks were high enough to pass, but instead of getting 85 or 90, he'll get 55 or 60, his mother said, which could hurt his chances of a university scholarship.

    She is appealing to the school board to allow Kieran to write his exams in September.
  20. Motorhead

    Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2007

    Student Who Spoke Out About Risks of Marijuana, Alcohol, Falsely Accused of Selling Drugs, Mother Says

    WINNIPEG -- A video recording of a free-speech protest at a Saskatchewan high school shows a school superintendent saying publicly that 15-year-old Kieran King had been accused of selling drugs at his school, even though his mother says he had never been investigated or charged, or even spoken to by the school principal.

    Kieran's mother, Jo Anne Euler, says the drug-selling accusation is false, but hasn't yet decided whether to pursue legal action. Her first priority is to appeal the school's decision to prevent Kieran from writing his final exams, which means his grades will fall from the high 80s to the mid-50s.

    The video, which can be seen on YouTube, shows the peculiar seven-person protest outside Wawota Parkland School last week. It was organized, with the help of the Saskatchewan Marijuana Party, after the principal threatened to call police if Kieran continued to talk about the relative health risks of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco - his response to a school presentation on the dangers of drugs.

    Just before the start of the protest, the principal ordered a school lockdown, brought in the RCMP and later conducted a threat-assessment on Kieran. He and his brother were suspended for three days for leaving school grounds, preventing him from writing his exams.

    Superintendent of education Velda Weatherald tries to explain on the video why Kieran was told not to talk about marijuana in school after a student complained to the principal.

    "When a student or parent comes with a complaint to the principal, all she did say was if ever anyone was promoting drug use or was actually trying to sell drugs - and there was an accusation," Ms. Weatherald says.

    A voice off camera asks, "Against Kieran?"

    "Yes," Ms. Weatherald replies, but refuses to offer further details.

    Kieran has said several times that he has never used or even seen marijuana.

    Neither Ms. Weatherald nor any other representative of the South East Cornerstone School Division would speak to The Globe and Mail yesterday.

    Ms. Euler explained that Kieran has always felt strongly about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. Nineteen years ago, Ms. Euler's husband and eldest daughter, who was nine at the time, were killed by a drunk driver.

    "I know for a fact that's why he looks up all the negative facts about alcohol, that adds some fuel to it," she said. "He knows the effect, because you just don't ever get over it."

    "The day before all this started, on May 29, we were driving and as usual he was talking about all his statistics, and he said to me: 'Mom, I just can't understand why people smoke and drink when they know the effects of it. When you read the statistics, why do they still do it?' "

    Kieran is currently in Shanghai, where he is studying Mandarin and working as an English tutor. One of the reasons he was allowed to go to China on his own, his mother said, is that since her daughter was killed, she has been reluctant to stand between her children and their dreams.

    She said the reaction to the controversy in Wawota, a town of about 600 located a 2-hour drive east of Regina, is slowly improving. One parent approached her yesterday to whisper some words of encouragement, she said. "She said she's sick of the way that school is run, and she said there's lots of others that support you but they're just afraid to speak out, so I felt a lot better after that," she added.

    But she is dismayed that the ordeal has made her son, whom she describes as a research-obsessed computer fanatic, look like a criminal and a drug dealer.

    Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa lawyer and founding member of the Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy, said Kieran should be commended for standing up for his rights.

    "If he is saying that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, he's probably dead right," Mr. Oscapella said. "So what is wrong in an educational institution with discussing these issues?"

    Audrey Trombley, the elected chair of the school board, said she had spoken to the director of education and believed that everyone had acted appropriately.
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