Steven Hoffer – A few Virginia parents would probably like to know what local school administrators are smoking.
Seventh-grader Adam Grass and three other students at Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, Va., were suspended last week after being caught with what teachers initially thought was a bag of marijuana but turned out to be a stash of oregano, The Virginian-Pilot reports.
Unfortunately for the disciplined boys, now facing expulsion, there isn’t much of a difference between Italian herbs and Mary Jane, at least in the state’s eyes. According to school board member Christie Craig, Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy against “imitation controlled substances.”Adam is a straight-A student and National Junior Honor Society candidate, achievements his father, Patrick Grass, doesn’t want to see go up in smoke all because of a childhood prank.
“I know times have changed, and you can’t do [just] anything in schools anymore,” Grass said. “But I think there needs to be a certain amount of common sense applied to their policies.”
The elder Grass also explains that his son was merely holding onto the oregano for a friend, meaning he’s really just an innocent spice trafficker.
“So he was in possession of it for maybe 30 seconds,” Grass said.
Seeking legal council, the Grass family turned to the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute, which specializes in defending people who believe their human rights and civil liberties have been violated.
The organization’s president and founder, John Whitehead, calls the oregano bust yet another case of an overenforced zero-tolerance policy. …
Two of oregano’s compounds, thymol and carvacrol, have potent antibacterial properties. In fact, a study in Mexico found that oregano was more effective against an amoeba than a common prescription drug called tinidazol. Oregano is also a potent antioxidant, rich in phytonutrients.