LIVINGSTON, TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Texas high school student claims to have simply not been paying attention when he ended up taking a can of beer to school. When the young man fessed up to his teacher he was slapped with a major suspension — now his mom is fighting the punishment.
Seventeen-year-old Chaz Seale said he made, “an honest mistake.” While it’s been said that honesty is the best policy, Chaz doesn’t believe it.
It was two weeks ago when Chaz, a junior at Livingston High School, says he accidentally grabbed a can of Coors Lite from his fridge instead of a can of soda and then packed it in his lunch. Livingston is about 75 miles northeast of Houston.
Chaz’ mother, Christi Seale, said the mistake could have happen anyone. “He was in a hurry, running late, we were talking about school and he put it [lunch] all together and took off for school.”
Chaz said he realized his mistake while in 3rd period and immediately did what he thought was the correct and appropriate thing to do. “I gave it to the teacher thinking I wouldn’t get in trouble… and I got in trouble.”
In fact, Chaz got into lots of trouble. The teenager received a three-day suspension and is being required to attend an alternative school for 60 days.
When his parents were notified they were shocked. Christi Seale said, “I was just baffled. I said, ‘60 days? That’s the maximum amount.’”
Christi went to the school principal and explained that her son did the right thing by admitting his error and coming forward and she feels the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
The Livingston Independent School District issued a statement that said, in part –
“The principal of Livingston High School followed appropriate LISD administrative procedures and protocol. LISD encourages any parent who is in disagreement with an administrative decision to seek relief through the appellate process as provided through Livingston ISD policies.”
A Facebook page against the strict zero tolerance policy and in support of Chaz was started and so far has more than 2,800 likes. It’s a welcome sign of support for a mom who is working hard to clear her son’s name. “I think its not black and white there has to be a grey area. You can’t punish a kid for doing the right thing, the same punishment that you would give a kid that you catch doing the wrong thing.”
Chaz’s mom did indeed appeal the suspension and according to a letter posted on the Facebook page Wednesday afternoon the district has changed its stance – somewhat. Livingston ISD officials said that in accordance with the Texas Education Code the alternative school punishment is mandatory but the office can reconsider the length of the placement. The letter said Chaz’s intent and disciplinary history, which until now had been spotless, was considered and the decision was made to reduce the alternative campus placement from 60 to 30 days.
The Seale family can still disagree with the new decision and appeal it to the Associate Superintendent. There’s been no word yet on what they’ve decided to do.
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