Excelsior Springs family told negative drug tests not enough to overturn daughter’s school suspension

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo., -- When Theresa Lee learned her 13-year-old daughter, Danielle Vela, was being suspended from school she took it seriously.

"We are very black and white. You`re either right or you`re wrong that`s how we`ve taught our children. That is what we believe," Lee said.

Danielle said she was suspended from Excelsior Springs Middle School for three days and faces more than two weeks in a detention school after marijuana was found in the girls bathroom.

"We all went in together and we all went out together, but she flicked the bud into the sink. I don`t know what she did with the rest of it, but she was the only person in there smoking," Danielle said.

Theresa said Danielle took drug tests, one at home and another at Excelsior Springs Hospital, in the hope the school would drop her suspension and clear her name when they came back negative. But Theresa said that was enough for the school principal.

"I don`t know why it wasn`t enough but it should have been." Lee said, "What upset me was when he turned around and told me that it was his personal belief that she had smoked weed and based on that, in his opinion, that`s all he needed to go off of."

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jaret Tomlinson issued this statement:

"The Excelsior Springs School District does not comment on specific student disciplinary issues.

Per board policy, our district follows a discipline code for drug use or possession on school grounds. Our principals take into account all factors surrounding any allegation. This would include the student’s account of the incident, all witness statements, law enforcement input, medical professional’s opinions, as well as prior discipline history.

The goal of the Excelsior Springs School District is to use our discipline code as a means to instruct appropriate conduct and behavior.”

Although Theresa and Danielle face an uphill battle, they will continue to fight for the truth.

"As far as I need to. That`s my daughter, I would do anything for her," Theresa said.

"It feels good because she believes me and she sticks up for me. It just feels good to have someone that is there for me," Danielle said.

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