John Tverbakk, the father of a 13-year-old honor roll student at Cook Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, thinks school officials ignored a new law intended to relax zero-tolerance policies when they sent his daughter to an alternative school for six weeks for holding a 1-ounce test tube of beer.Zero tolerance has been an excuse for avoiding judgement.
Tverbakk said he is angry because his daughter Veronica, who has perfect attendance, a junior black belt in taekwondo, and is on the school's track team, received the same punishment as her classmate who brought the beer to school.
"The student said it was Corona, and Veronica thought she was joking, so she held it and pretended to drink it and handed it back to the girl," Tverbakk said.
Veronica Tverbakk's case is not the only instance in which parents are challenging actions of administrators in interpreting the new law, said Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, who co-wrote House Bill 603 to curtail zero-tolerance discipline.
The legislation instructs administrators to consider a student's disciplinary history, intent or lack of intent, and whether a student has a disability that would impair judgment before deciding to remove, suspend or expel a student for misconduct.