A Black student at Garner Magnet High School in Garner, North Carolina, was subjected to a humiliating experience. According to sophomore Jakayla Johnson, she was in her Chinese language class when a school resource officer interrupted the class. The officer stated that they smelled marijuana in the hallway and singled her out. The officer searched the classroom and found nothing. It was then that they came to Jakayla and told her to spread her fingers out and smelled them.
She was then taken out of the classroom to the school office and patted down and her belongings searched,. The officer found no marijuana on the student but she was still punished. Shockingly, Jakayla was charged with possession of marijuana. According to documents from the Wake County School District released to media, “It was explained to Jakayla that for her hands to smell so pungently of marijuana she would have to have possessed it in her hands at some recent point in time.”
Jakayla received a five-day suspension and is required to take drug classes or face suspension for the rest of the year. Her mother, Tameka Johnson, was outraged and knew the school had made a mistake. She even went so far as to take Jakayla to a drug testing lab and had a drug and alcohol test administered, which came back negative. Johnson took the results to the school and wanted an apology and to have her daughter readmitted to class. But the school was unrelenting and presented her with a document that says Jakayla was charged with possession. When Johnson asked how that was possible since she supposedly smelled like marijuana but no drugs were found, the school responded that there was no box for smelling like marijuana so the possession box was checked. Now Tameka Johnson fears that this charge will stay on her daughter’s academic record. They must appeal the decision to the school board; however, school ends on May 18, 2016, and Jakayla has fallen behind in studies and testing.