District sued for suspending student over candy
A family has filed a lawsuit against the Lorain County School District after their daughter was wrongly accused of bringing drug-laced candy to lunch in September and suspended.
Shannon Ciotti and her daughter have filed a suit naming the district, the Lorain City Board of Education, every board member, the district CEO and the Lorain Police Department.
Ciotti said her daughter was suspended immediately from Southview Middle School after being accused of bringing tainted candy, before any test was ever conducted on the candy. The director of out of school suspension cited Ciotti’s daughter with a level three violation – possession of marijuana edibles.
The lawsuit states a 10-day suspension turned into 21 because the police department took so long to test the candy. The box of Milk Duds was not properly tagged as evidence and sat on a shelf in the police department, “untested and abandoned,” the court filing states. It was only after the crime lab found out from Ciotti that the evidence was improperly tagged that they tested the candy.
The family also contacted the Hershey Company, who tested the batch of Milk Duds for illegal substances, the suit states.
Hershey came to the same conclusion that Lorain police eventually did: the candy contained no illegal substances.
According to the lawsuit, the teen has been harassed and ridiculed since returning to Southview Middle School. Fellow students have called her names like “pot head,” and a teacher allegedly mocked the girl, saying, “I hope you’re not planning on exchanging candy. We’ve been down that road before.”
The lawsuit seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages and over $1,000,000 in punitive damages for negligence, gross negligence and defamation on behalf of the school and police.