Law Office of Michelle Ball Controlled substances,Discipline,Ed 48900s Can Students Be Punished For Providing A Fake Drug?

Can Students Be Punished For Providing A Fake Drug?

Oregano in pile

Last Updated on July 26, 2022 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

Parents may be surprised upon receiving a phone call that a student was being suspended or expelled for providing a “drug” to another student.  What if later, the purported “drug,” is actually not a drug at all, the student only pretended it was?  Maybe the student just “possessed” the fake drug or alcohol but did not sell, offer to sell or provide it to another student?  Can either situation form the basis for a suspension or expulsion

Fake medications in container
Fake drugs can come in all forms, and providing them at school can get a student in trouble

Fake Drugs Can Form the Basis for Suspension for Expulsion

Per Education Code section 48900 (c) and (d), students may be suspended or expelled if they:

1)  Possess, sell, use, or furnish a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant of any kind, or
2)  Sell, deliver or furnish any of the above, or
3)  Sell, deliver or otherwise furnish “another liquid, substance, or material” and represent that item as a prohibited item (#1 above). [fake drug]

This is very interesting language.

What the Education Code Says About Fake Controlled Substances

What this law means is:

First, if a student possesses or uses something which is not a controlled substance, alcohol or an intoxicant, this is not enough for suspension or expulsion.  For example, the student has oregano, but tells students they have marijuana.  So long as the student does not give or sell that Oregano to another and represent it as marijuana (or some other improper substance), these sections should not apply.

dollars in rolls
Actual sale or provision of a fake drug can open door to discipline

Second, “offering to sell” a fake drug is not listed as enough, alone, for discipline, without something exchanging hands.  

Third, if a student gives or sells another student a non-drug but represents it as a controlled substance, alcohol or intoxicant, this can end in a suspension or expulsion recommendation. An actual sale or provision of the fake drug has to take place, for the student’s actions to be suspendable or expellable.

Real Controlled Substance Offenses May Mean Mandatory Expulsion

Additionally, per Education Code §48915(c), sale of a real controlled substance remains a mandatory expulsion offense. Possession of a controlled substance will also receive a mandatory expulsion recommendation (except for the first possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and/or if the student possesses his own medication) but possession of a real drug does not carry a mandatory expulsion requirement. 

Even though the fake controlled substance legal sections seems clear, parents may still be forced to defend a student from suspension or expulsion. Sometimes schools get confused or don’t understand the law.

This, unfortunately, can cause heartache for students and parents alike.  

Reaching across California, student expulsion and suspension lawyer Michelle Ball assists parents with the school discipline process, from prevention through appeal. A student attorney in Sacramento, Michelle Ball can help in places such as Ripon, Galt, Marysville, Hanford, Glendale, Ontario, Roseville, Auburn, Tahoe, Stockton, San Francisco and many other locations.