HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Principal Apologizes To Boy Barred For Pot Odour
Pubdate: Sat, 06 Apr 2002
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2002 Southam Inc.
Author: Melanie Brooks


OTTAWA - After more than a week of appeals and threats of lawsuits, the 
school board that suspended 15-year-old Chris Laurin because a police dog 
smelled marijuana on his jacket has apologized and wiped his record clean.

"The school board did make a mistake in suspending me before. They have 
corrected that mistake," said Chris. "I feel it was a sincere apology, and 
I've been justified. And I've paved the way for other students to fight 
back if they're wrongly punished."

Chris, a Grade 10 student at St. Matthew High School, was suspended after 
an impromptu drug search at his school on March 26. A police dog identified 
the scent of marijuana on his jacket, and Chris was suspended for two days 
- -- even though police did not find any drugs and the vice-principal 
admitted she could not smell it.

He and his father, Michel, protested the suspension, and hired lawyer 
Lawrence Greenspon. After Mr. Laurin filed an appeal last week, the 
Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board agreed to remove the suspension from 
Chris's record on Wednesday. And in a private meeting with Chris and his 
father yesterday morning, Chris's principal, André Potvin, apologized for 
the suspension.

Mr. Greenspon said the school board did not explain why the principal 
decided to suspend Chris, but the case has forced the school to alter its 

"Their intent in the future would be to call in the parents before any 
disciplinary action is taken."

However, superintendent Marcello Bottiglia said the school board has not, 
and will not, change its suspension policy. The decision to consult with 
parents was made by St. Matthew High School, not the board.
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