Three students were punished for having beef jerky “look-alike drugs” in a Michigan middle school. The students reportedly were found to be in possession of cans, resembling chewing tobacco tins, filled with beef jerky.
A total of four students were reprimanded for the incident. One student did indeed have chewing tobacco, but the other three did not. School administration punished the all four students as the beef jerky was considered a look-alike drug. The student in possession of the chewing tobacco was suspended. Two of the others were sent home, the fourth remained at the school as his parents were unavailable.
The Niles Ring Lardner Middle School student handbook specifies a total ban on all weapons or look-alike weapons. Additionally it bans any drugs or look-alike drugs, including alcohol and tobacco.
Shredded jerky is coarsely shredded from larger pieces. It has the flavor of jerky, however it is much easier to chew. Shredded jerky is usually packaged in small plastic containers that resemble chewing tobacco tins.
Although the cans resemble chewing tobacco tins, they are clearly labeled as jerky. Furthermore the jerky itself is quite different in texture, smell, and color. Administration at the Niles Ring Larder school consider the appearance close enough to be considered a look-alike drug.
As reported by Leader Pub, at least one of the students, and his father, are confused by the punishment. Eighth grade student Brenton Harrell and his father have stated that students should not be disciplined for bringing a snack to school.
Ring Lardner Principal, Doug Langmeyer, feels the action was justified. He states that the incident started when a student was found to have chewing tobacco in a beef jerky can. After that student was punished, other students came forward to hand in their cans, which only contained jerky.
Langmeyer contends that the three students could have been suspended for having look-alike drugs, however he though it was best to simply send the boys home.
Harrell, one of the students punished for the beef jerky look-alike drug, is concerned that the discipline will remain on his record. Principal Langmeyer has stated that the disciplinary action will not remain on the boy’s permanent record.