• School rules apply even when you’re out of the country

    Date: 09.10.10 | by Judge Tom.

    Three sixteen year old boys from Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona, learned that being 6,000 miles from their school doesn’t mean you can’t get into trouble.  The three band members were on a 10-day summer trip to China in 2010.  A few adults chaperoned the group including their principal.

    The boys were caught with beer and each admitted breaking the rules.  They signed statements about the incident and were each given a 5-day suspension beginning at the start of the school year.  They are also required to complete the school district’s alcohol prevention program.

    Photo by CoWg0eSm0o (Flickr)

    The parents of the boys opposed the suspensions and hired a lawyer.  They objected to the way the matter was handled and thought they should have been given the opportunity to discuss the circumstances around the drinking.  Those circumstances included the facts that a few Dobson High graduates bought the beer and gave it to them, that there were only a few chaperones, and that a Chinese man was with the boys during the drinking.

    In August, 2010, the court ruled in favor of the school stating that courts get involved with school discipline only during a clear abuse of discretion by educators.  Although this high school doesn’t have a written zero-tolerance policy regarding alcohol and drugs, the use of alcohol by any student on a school-sponsored trip is prohibited.  The school may now consider whether to continue its international travel program.  Other schools either don’t offer such to students or have placed a moratorium on them.  The mistakes of a few may affect many.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    3 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Fri, 10 Sep 2010 at 05:02

      High school students suspended for drinking overseas during a school sponsored trip to China. http://fb.me/wdK63pye

    • Clay Boggess
      Fri, 24 Sep 2010 at 07:24

      The additional circumstances surrounding this issue are irrelevant. The boys made a poor choice to accept the beer that was purchased by the older students in the first place. They should not have made the choice to put themselves in this compromising situation. Instead of automatically defending their children every time they get in trouble parents need to teach them that there are consequences for every decision.
      Thank you for your comments, Clay. What if the boys were the legal drinking age in China (18)? Would this make any difference?

    • Clay Boggess
      Fri, 24 Sep 2010 at 01:25

      School rules apply even when you are out of the country http://bit.ly/9E8PsM

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