At times, criticizers of cannabis can at times take their negative views too far. In a case with a nine-year-old boy, that’s exactly what happened. As a result of Aiden Whitley sporting a harmless shirt displaying a cannabis leaf, the school removed him from class. Now, his mother is fighting the school system for their actions.
Aiden Whitley, removed from class for spreading a positive message
In Newnan, Georgia, a mother is now fighting the school system that removed her son from class for his shirt.
Aiden Whitley wore a t-shirt sent to him from a promotional company to school. According to his mother, Jillian Bramlett, the shirt spreads positive awareness about medical cannabis. It reads in big letters, “I’m a patient” with a question in smaller text below it reading “not what you’d expect, huh?”
Bramlett says the shirt brings about curiosity and questions.
It’s given us an opportunity to talk to people about what we’ve been fighting for the last two years.
At just 10-months-old, Whitley began suffering from a rare, genetic form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome. During December 2015, he started taking legal medications that contain cannabis, which help control his seizures.
In general, her goal is to spread awareness and educate people. Specifically, about medical cannabis and how it helps her son.
We’re proud of the shirt and what the medicine has done for him. It’s chaotic, it’s horrible, it’s crazy and this (medicine) has helped him so much, and they weren’t open and willing to be educated and to spread awareness. They just don’t want to hear it, and for me that was what the real concern was.
A violation of the dress code
Around 8am, Bramlett says the school pulled her son out of class and held him in the main office. Eventually, they let him return to class without having to change.
According to Bramlett, he just sat in the office coloring rather than doing his schoolwork.
Dean Jackson, Coweta County Schools’ spokesman, says Elm Street Elementary School officials made the call to Bramlett and she refused to bring a change of clothes. Furthermore, Jackson says,
An issue arose (Thursday) morning and, originally, the school thought the shirt violated the dress code. The mother disagreed and appealed, and the child was sent back to class.
On Friday, the school determined that the shirt is a violation of the dress code. The dress code, in particular, states that students cannot wear “shirts that advertise alcohol, tobacco or drugs.”
No legal substances allowed
On Friday, Superintendent Steve Barker sent a letter home to parents saying,
As you may be aware, school system administrators were asked by a parent to make a determination regarding the school dress code. The question was specific regarding marijuana. Attire that depicts drugs does not meet the system dress code and, therefore, is not allowed at school.
Bramlett, however, feels that the shirt’s message is the point. Moreover, she believes that because the “drug” is not illegal it should, therefore, receive the same treatment as a shirt advertising Tylenol. In fact, she even asked if putting a piece of tape over the leaf is acceptable.
Although Bramlett wants to continue fighting for awareness and promotion of medical cannabis, she doesn’t want to disrupt her son’s education. She also says,
I feel like I should send him in the shirt one more time and see if they send him home.
Related article: Watch: The Proven Power Of Marijuana On Epilepsy