WALLED LAKE, Mich. -
Sears brought a bottle of vodka to Walled Lake Central High School. The 16-year-old didn't drink any of it but passed it off to two friends who did. Those two got really drunk on high school property. Sears' mother, Teri, was ready to wring her son's neck.
"This was really dumb. We've talked about not drinking. We've talked about not doing these things and, you know, he brought something to school that was absolutely wrong," the mother said.
Sears' parents grounded him from everything and he knew the school was going to land on all three of the boys. The school ultimately decided to suspend the two drinkers for five days each. Sears received a harsher 90-day suspension. That's what has his parents really puzzled.
"He looked at me and collapsed and said, 'Mom, I was honest. I accepted responsibility,'" his mother said.
It was Sears' first offense at school. He's an average student who doesn't normally get into trouble. His parents were stunned by the disparity in punishments and what they view as arbitrary decision making.
Local 4 asked school leaders for an interview but they declined. Instead, they released this statement which in part reads:
"The District evaluates each student discipline case on its individualized facts and circumstances."
The Michigan Board of Education finds the long-term suspensions harmful and not helpful to the student. The Sears family has approached the legislature to come up with a law capping suspensions at 20 days for offenses that aren't grounds for expulsion.
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