Jakayla Johnson is at the center of another case of the unjust persecution of a person over a smell. Wake County School District in North Carolina has suspended the student over allegedly smelling like marijuana, even after finding nothing on her, and testing negative in a drug test. On her suspension document? Possession.
15-year-old Garner Magnet High School student Jakayla Johnson was in Chinese class with about 30 other students when a school resource officer interrupted the class, saying they smelled marijuana from the hall. After about 5 minutes searching the class, Johnson says the officer singled her out:
“They told me to spread my fingers, and they smelled my fingers.”
Johnson says she was taken to the office and patted down, an officer made her remove her shoes, and also went through her book bag.
According to documents from the school, no drugs were found, but Johnson was suspended for 5 days based solely on:
“A smell so pungently of marijuana she would have to have possessed it in her hands some recent point in time.”
She was also required to take drug classes or face suspension for the rest of the year. Tameka Johnson, Jakayla’s mother, was shocked when she was notified by the school. She knew her daughter did not use marijuana and took her to a laboratory for drug testing, which came back negative.
With the results in hand, she took her daughter back to the school, demanding an apology. Instead, she was given another school document that said her daughter was cited for possession of marijuana.
“And I said ‘Well you checked this box and wrote on here possession of marijuana, but you’re saying that you didn’t find any marijuana on her’ and he was like, ‘That is correct’ and he said ‘Well there was no other option to check’ and in my head ‘Well you don’t check anything then!'”
Jakayla’s mother fears that this will follow her daughter for the rest of her life, and is worried that this is happening to other students who might not know how to stand up for themselves.
Is a smell a good enough justification to persecute and suspend a student? Let alone when no contraband is found, and even a drug test comes back clean? Voice your opinion on social media or in the comments section below.