School District’s Response to Child’s Suspension for Kombucha “Possession”

by Sarah ActivismComments: 202

Below is the official press release from the Newport-Mesa School District regarding the story posted yesterday about the elementary school boy suspended from school for having kombucha tea in his lunchbox which school administration deemed with no testing or due diligence to violate the district’s drug and alcohol policy.

It appears that the school must fear the legal ramifications of their over the top reaction as they are spinning the story already.

The statement insists that the child was not suspended and no disciplinary action was taken.

You call keeping a child in the school office for the entire day, interrogating him about where/when he obtained this “illegal” beverage, telling him he may have to transfer to another school, attempting to sign him up for a youth alcoholics program and then having him sign a 5 day suspension notice “no disciplinary action?”   

Revoking the suspension does NOT mean the suspension and interrogation somehow never happened!   And, Police Officers in uniform (per a statement from the child’s mother who had another meeting yesterday – this time with the Principal) were called into the office to assist with the child’s possibly illegal interrogation since the child was questioned about any medicines he was taking etc and there was no attorney or parent/guardian present.  Whether or not the officers were already on campus is immaterial.

I do hope the parents consider legal action to be played out in a court of law.  A very strong possibility exists that their rights and that of their son were horribly violated and doing nothing just ensures that this type of abuse will continue.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Statement Re: Alleged Action of Suspension for Possession of Kombucha Tea Drink

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 12, 2012

Newport-Mesa Unified would like to respond to a recent article posted in The Healthy Home Economist titled, “Child Suspended from School for Kombucha in Lunchbox.”

No disciplinary action was taken and the student was not suspended. The parents of the involved student met with the school principal to discuss and resolve any issues that resulted from Wednesday’s incident.

The issue resulted from the student being in possession of a beverage called, Kombucha, a tea, which states on its label that it contains 0.05 percent alcohol. The substance came to the attention of school officials through other students who reported that a student had alcohol. Having a substance on campus containing any level of alcoholic content is a violation according to District policy.

The article also references police involvement. The Newport Beach Police Department provides two full- time School Resource Officers who work with our Newport Beach and Corona del Mar campuses. Police were not called in specifically for this incident. The SRO was already on campus and participated in a routine discovery process. All this being said, the incident itself and the perception of how it was handled is something the District is committed to correcting. School districts implement policies and procedures to ensure consistency of practice. For most circumstances, the practices work. However, this was a new situation.

Seeing the need to review some of the practices regarding policies and procedures regarding discipline, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education has requested the Superintendent to research programs that would emphasize a more nurturing approach to the discovery process and avoid overly aggressive practices when dealing with the discipline process. 


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (202)

  • Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

  • longchamp bags

    The Healthy Home Economist | School District’s Response to Child’s Suspension for Kombucha “Possession”
    longchamp bags

    September 30th, 2013 5:03 am Reply
  • Bulluingwarrior

    Related Steve Cooley Articles see all
    L.A. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey makes a case for justice for all
    By Sandra Hernandez
    Story | Jun 11, 2013 | 11:48 AM

    Fifty years after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Brady vs. Maryland, which established that prosecutors have a constitutional obligation to disclose information favorable to defendants, the debate continues over whether prosecutors are skirting that obligation. In Los Angeles, the debate was revived last year when the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California sued Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley’s office, alleging that prosecutors were routinely concealing so-called…
    Steve Cooley and Alan Jackson join Hollywood legal battle
    By Daniel Miller
    Story | Jun 14, 2013 | 5:50 PM

    Former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and former Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson have joined a high-stakes Hollywood legal battle related to the failed movie business dealings of construction magnate Ron Tutor and a partner. Last month, Cooley and Jackson became members of the legal team representing controversial film financier David Bergstein, who is involved in several lawsuits associated with the bankruptcies of film companies he co-owned with Tutor, the chief executive of Tutor…
    D.A. revises policies after complaints of withholding evidence
    By Jack Leonard
    Story | Jun 11, 2013 | 4:08 PM

    Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey announced Tuesday that she has issued new policies on when to disclose information about police officer misconduct and other evidence to defense attorneys. The move drew praise from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, which, along with other civil rights lawyers, sued the county last year, accusing prosecutors of improperly withholding key evidence from defendants. The new directives, issued last week, make it clear that prosecutors…
    Steve Cooley Photos see all

    L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley

    Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley

    Five governors

    Carmen Trutanich
    more photos »
    Bell trial: Former D.A. calls verdicts ‘step in the right direction’
    Story | Mar 20, 2013 | 6:43 PM

    The former district attorney who called Bell’s scandalous salaries “corruption on steroids” called Wednesday’s guilty verdicts “a step in the right direction.”
    Bell mistrial: ‘Prosecutors on steroids,’ defense says
    Story | Mar 21, 2013 | 4:32 PM

    When former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley announced the arrests of eight Bell city officials, he called it a case of “corruption on steroids.” On Thursday, after a jury deadlocked on 42 remaining counts and Judge Kathleen Kennedy…

    September 10th, 2013 1:01 am Reply
  • Fred Botz

    The label, according to the FDA MUST specify alcohol since it is a POSSIBLE byproduct of the tea fermentation process. The same way a Twinkie must include peanuts on the label, because of possible contact with peanuts in processing, even though there isnt a single peanut anywhere near a Twinkie.

    Any beverage with natural sugars will ferment and produce alcohol within hours of not being refridgerated… Including OJ. This is yet again a hysterical response by those hell bent on indoctrinating kids into being thoughtless automotons.

    I hope the parents sue the doors off of that school, police departnent and board of education, THEN file civil suit against the individuals involved. Hitting them in the wallet is the only language that those with power trips understand.

    April 26th, 2013 6:38 am Reply
  • Bullyingwarrior

    No child should be held against their will, especially for 6 hours and Parents were not called immediately. The School Officials involved and Police Dept. had a right and responsibility to notify Parents in a reasonable time period if not IMMEDIATELY.
    Thank you for taking your time to write to the NMUSD Board and others with the horrific corruption they are inflicting on our children, families, Good Teachers and others.
    My investigations go back almost “20 years”, of the unlawful, criminal acts, school policies broken and created to coverup nepotism practices to DESTROY young children, shatter families trust in school officials, take away the dedicated and devoted Teachers that quit teaching public school indefinitely with retaliation when reporting complaints and claims. Can you imagine going to the police departments, District Attorney, Dept. of Education, and many other responsable Governement Educational positions and they DO NOTHING TO STEP IN TO HELP! Shocking enough to imagine some joined in on a topic rarely discussed, Bullying From Top School Officials.
    The paper trail for over 2 years has been given to the District Attorney in Orange and the family and NMUSD Community are very interested in what their investigation concludes with and we all are hoping the DEPT. OF JUSTICE looks into these matters and criminal charges will be filed and not only accountability takes place, resignations immediately given and they can’t work around children ever again.
    Look under the following sites to follow the story beginning 6-14-11 to the present time.
    YouTube: Bullyingwarrior
    Twitter: Bullyingwarrior
    Facebook: Bullying Principals and Teachers

    April 25th, 2013 3:26 am Reply
  • Nicole

    I think this issue is being blown WAY out of proportion – really, you think sueing in the right response? I’m generally sue-happy and even I don’t think this is worth that.

    What happened was the school got wind of a child having alcohol, brought him to the office and looked into it. He wasn’t being arrested, so parents didn’t need to be brought in for the period he was being spoken to by the principal. And it’s quite commong for schools to have the police come in if they’re already on campus; it happened to me while I was in school.

    As for all your crap about bullying, yes, maybe it will go badly for the child, but more than likely he’ll get to laugh with all his buddies about the stupid teachers who thought his juice was alcohol, and he’ll play up the “look, I’m drinking alcohol!” joke. That’s what would have happened when I was in school (and I’m only 22 so it wasn’t that long ago).

    The school revoked the suspension when they had gone through everything and figured out it was juice, and yes, in the end that meant they did the right thing. Yes, they should have said suspension revoked instead of not suspended, but in the end he WASN’T suspended because he was never actually kept from going to school.

    Honestly, no rights were trampled or any of that bullshit you guys are going on about. They thought a kid had alcohol, looked into it, clearly didn’t know precisely what they were dealing with, and upon getting all the information the whole thing was done away with and now they’re trying to re-work the regulations to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Mistakes happen, and kombucha’s not really mainstream so you can’t expect everyone to know all about it. The school did what they thought was right – for all they knew it WAS an alcoholic beverage and they were keeping illegal substances out of their school. Give them a break – they made a little mistake, but really, so did the people who reported it as alcohol. The schools NEED to investigate all allegations.

    October 24th, 2012 3:54 pm Reply
  • Mike

    PLEASE bring legal action against the school. I’m so sick of schools doing whatever they want because they think they know best. Take them to court and be sure to put a webpage for donations, I’d definitely throw in some money for that.

    October 22nd, 2012 10:58 am Reply
  • PeeWee

    These officials should be put on probation if not fired for harassing a child about fermented tea. In the internet age this kind of ignorance is not acceptable of “education workers”.

    October 21st, 2012 3:30 pm Reply
  • Ammo

    As I look at this whole thing I see people who run the school systems in America as those who were educated in it and we should all know that after the great war our education was and has been influenced by communism. So, that said, it is no surprise that these people in ‘control’ did not contact the parent, did not want to and acted out according to the wealth of dung they had stockpiled in their minds.
    If you can do it, don’t sent your children to public schools. Home school them yourselves, if you can or Seize The Time and band together to create an education network for your children so they won’t be tortured by the state. They will learn your values and principles, not those of others who think they know better than you.

    October 18th, 2012 6:35 am Reply
  • Vizeet

    Imagine what had happened if he had brought homeopathy medicine with 100% alcohol.

    October 17th, 2012 9:27 pm Reply
  • Al

    This is proof that a University degree does not require common sense…and these morons are not by theirselves….the education system in overrun with imbiciles like this running our education system… Do you onder why we’re at the bottom of the totem pole for ratings in the world’s edcation listings????????????? Curly, Moe & Larry are in charge !!!!!!!11

    October 17th, 2012 11:40 am Reply
  • Victoria Meyers

    Somebody needs to go and photograph every thing in that school that contains alcohol (markers, cleaning fluids, hand lotion, hand sanitizer(!!) and file charges back on the school.

    “Having a substance on campus containing any level of alcoholic content is a violation according to District policy.”

    October 16th, 2012 8:11 pm Reply
  • laura

    Thank Sarah for this followup story!

    October 16th, 2012 4:26 pm Reply
  • Kelley Chapman via Facebook

    Spin!! Won’t they feel silly when they find out how amazing Kombucha really is. Then again, maybe the teacher works for FDA…?? I hear that some of those folks take a pretty dim view of of the wholistic approach to life.

    October 16th, 2012 9:31 am Reply
  • Kris Unger via Facebook


    October 16th, 2012 8:40 am Reply
  • Christi Ward via Facebook

    Ridiculous! I cannot even comprehend the insanity of public school leadership like this!

    October 16th, 2012 1:27 am Reply
  • Elizabeth Bivens via Facebook

    Seriously? Just take it away, and send a note home or call the parent. I wouldn’t have thought that would get a kid in trouble!!

    October 16th, 2012 12:25 am Reply
  • Gina Reaves Palmer via Facebook

    Good job Sarah. By getting the word out on what happened, it sounds like, from their statement, they realize they were a little extreme and want to make changes to how they handle these types of situations in the future. Most people are still in the frame of mind of taking antibiotics for every little thing, using antibacterial soap regularly and have no clue why they’re sick when they don’t replace the good bacteria that they’re killing. I think we’re getting closer but aren’t there yet. Keep up the good work! :-)

    October 15th, 2012 11:46 pm Reply
  • Helena Sorus via Facebook

    So, so silly!!!

    October 15th, 2012 11:28 pm Reply
  • Blanca Villanueva Perez via Facebook

    I too hope they sue.

    October 15th, 2012 10:56 pm Reply
  • Annette Hawks Pratt via Facebook

    Yet another reason to homeschool!!!

    October 15th, 2012 9:48 pm Reply
    • Ammo


      October 18th, 2012 6:37 am Reply
  • Good Grief

    I completely agree with Sarah…its time to call a lawyer. The authorities in this situation went way too far. This poor kid went through an extremely traumatic experience because of the people who are supposed to be protecting him. If they had called the mom, like they should have in the beginning, this never would have gone so far.
    I’ve worked in schools, volunteered in schools and now have my own kids in school. I’ve seen lots of good schools but even the good ones can have a bad apple of a staff member. While I think we’ve turned into a nation that sues everyone for every little thing, in this situation it would send a very clear message to this and other schools out there. (For example, the school that is trying to get a family to change their deaf son’s sign language name because it looks like he’s waving a gun)

    October 15th, 2012 9:45 pm Reply
    • jill

      A lawyer??? Wow. He had an alcohol containing drink on a zero tolerance campus! A major rule was violated. I am shocked that no one thinks the parents should be punished for violating a very serious school policy. He was probably being questioned to see if they gave him access to alcohol more often. This is a serious rule. If one wants to go to public/private schools, there are rules to abide by, like them or not. We all know the low amount of alcohol is not enough to intoxicate, but it is still ZERO tolerance. Is bullying ‘just a little’ OK to you if there is a zero tolerance policy? Lawyer-up! Please, no lawyers need be called. This opinion is what is CRIPPLING our country. SUE ‘EM so our own taxes go up. Wise indeed!

      October 15th, 2012 9:57 pm Reply
      • Good Grief

        But, they never tested the drink for alcohol. Store bought kombuchas are often pasteurized so there is no longer alcohol in them. If it was home made, they should know for sure if what they are accusing him of is true.
        As Sarah said:
        “I do hope the parents consider legal action to be played out in a court of law. A very strong possibility exists that their rights and that of their son were horribly violated and doing nothing just ensures that this type of abuse will continue.”
        It would take a lot for me to consider suing…I think its overboard in this country. But, the best way to know if their rights have been violated is to call a lawyer.

        October 15th, 2012 10:47 pm Reply
      • Judith

        To those people who feel that the boy had an alcoholic drink at school, and the incident was the parents’ fault, I would say that the school should not serve any ripe fruit or fruit juice, or baked goods containing an alcoholic extract, or soda-type drinks. They should treat any kids bringing these items from home just as they treated this poor boy.

        Do you realize how infinitesimal that amount of alcohol is? And the label gives that percentage, but the actual amount may be much less, or virtually none. All those other foods and drinks have about the same amount of alcohol, as others have pointed out above, or more than the Kombucha. The Kombucha was not an alcoholic drink. But if it is according to the school rules, than those other items must be banned.

        If anything, the school should have called the parents and reminded them not to send that sort of beverage, which would have been over-reaction.

        October 16th, 2012 12:08 am Reply
        • jill

          The point here is that the drink was clearly labeled as containing alcohol. Other food items may have trace amounts as you quote, I don’t care to research, and never heard of this, but the point is this was clearly labeled! If someone brings anything into a school that is clearly ZERO tolerance, then at minimum the parents should recognize the schools viewpoint of concern. We all know the possibility of intoxication is ‘almost’ impossible but again, it all boils down to zero tolerance and also protecting the welfare of a child. Many of you are seeing this as a lawsuit/life altering violation of rights and I am shocked by that. I fear for the resilience of the future generations here… It was an honest mistake on the part of the boys family in allowing a clearly labeled drink containing alcohol. It was their mistake and they put the burden on the school to investigate further.

          October 16th, 2012 9:21 am Reply
      • Derek

        You either work for a school district or have no kids, probably both. There is a difference between taking the said alcohol away and a different thing to interrogate the child without the parents present, which is what we are complaining about. I could care less about the drink being taken, where I would be upset is with the violation of this kids given rights according to the founders. Those rights don’t change because some adult is on a power trip.

        October 16th, 2012 8:47 am Reply
        • jill

          I am a parent and not a school employee everywhere. I am just floored at the litigiousness of these posts and the lack of teaching resilience to your children. I’m deeply saddened by it. A mistake was made, that was bringing in a clearly labeled beverage to school, containing a small amount of alcohol in a zero tolerance zone. I can only guess, if you put yourself in the schools position, they have to ensure this child is not regularly consuming alcohol at home, they have to question him w/o parents to get to that answer. You must know once you let your children go to school, a scary thing happens. Anything they say or do must be taken seriously by the adults at that school. They have to look out for abuse situations and negligence. They may have considered calling CPS.

          It’s very poor judgement on the parents part to allow anything clearly labeled as containing alcohol into the school even if it is just a ‘super-healthy’ drink that many people have never heard of! Schools don’t care about that, they have to ensure the child isn’t being mistreated. They may not have done everything perfectly, but I certainly think this blog is doing this story a HUGE disservice. I am so saddened by the lawsuit happy remarks. What a nice little bubble to live in, where you sue your own district rather than make this a teachable moment. Wonder why your property taxes are so high?

          October 16th, 2012 9:31 am Reply
          • Derek

            You obviously have no idea how the real world is supposed to handle these situations. Cause their are laws and due process that must be followed and the school knows this, hence the reason they are trying to deny what happened and claim the officer wasn’t called in.

            Okay lets assume they wanted to know about the parenting skills, the proper way to handle this would be to call the parent and notify that an investigation has been opened on them and that CPS is going to get involved for the question. Now when CPS is present to witness the questioning you may begin. The school knows there is trouble coming from the way they handled this, again the denial says it all. You can not have police interogate someone without representation and if the parents are in question then another person present that can council the child must be present.

            Also your logic on clearly labeled is false as it was just a plain glass jar and was covered with foam, so no it wasn’t clearly labeled.

            There is rules and regulations for dealing with these situations and the school knows it messed up. Since this situation doesn’t deserve jail time the only way to have them think twice before violating another childs civil rights is to hit them where it hurts. Schools are accountable to law just as everyone else is, they are not above and beyond it. We are not nazi germany and just because you have a government paid position doesn’t mean you can do as you please.

            October 16th, 2012 9:43 am
          • Good Grief

            I’m all for the school investigating to make sure the kid isn’t being put in danger. Its not hard to ask those questions in a safe environment. But, this wasn’t any of those things. They interrogated him for the rest of the school day, threatened to transfer him and make him join a youth alcoholics class. They also suspended him for 5 days. That is not the behavior of officials who are trying to make sure the kid isn’t being abused or hurt, that is officials who are on a power trip.

            October 16th, 2012 9:52 am
          • jill

            You are right, I am unsure of the protocols for this situation. As a mom I can only assume the child is questioned by a principal and or guidance counselor while parents are called/ awaiting parents to arrive. The police officer was on duty at the school so that doesn’t sound like a huge stretch that he’d want to hear the story as well. It just sounds like a huge miscommunication. “Hitting them where it hurts” is a pathetic option in my opinion.
            We are all entitled to our views on this one and making lawyers rich for a misunderstanding that can be easily settled privately by having a simple discussion, I find that sad. I understand I am in the minority on this one so we have to agree to disagree. I teach my children that sometimes we have to follow rules, even when those rules seem silly or unnecessary. Resilience in this crazy world is SO important. I never want to push the “victim” card when the error was on our part. I see this time and time again. Again, agree to disagree.

            October 16th, 2012 10:02 am
          • Eliza

            Jill, maybe one day something like this will happen to your child, and then you will be shocked and understand. I, too, taught my children to follow rules, respect “authority,” be polite, be cooperative, be easy going and resilient, be forgiving, give benefit of the doubt, etc.

            That works ONLY if the other party behaves and does his/her part to follow the rules, not take advantage, not be abusive, be kind, respectful, not threaten, etc.

            You may have the opinion you have because nothing bad has ever happened to your kids by following your advice — and that is a blessing. However, you might want to consider “what if” an authoritarian “authority” abuses his/her power and traumatizes your obedient child who has not been taught his/her rights and how to respectfully yet firmly stand up for them.

            This is just a warning, from a very experienced mother who was once in your position. I once held the views you seem to hold, until it happened to me and my child. Boy, were my eyes opened in a hurry. What was described by Sarah, if that is the way it happened (and I think it did happen this way), is abusive, traumatizing, overreaching and abuse by authorities. This has to be acknowledged. At the very least, heed the warning.

            And I mean this kindly — the more you have your blinders on to what can happen, the more trusting you are (blind trust), the harder you (and your child) may fall.

            October 16th, 2012 10:15 am
          • jill

            I teach reality and street smarts as well Eliza. Blind respect of authority is also a foolish thing, I understand that. I would love to know generally or specifically what you are referring to in your situation.
            This particular situation we are discussing would never, never happen to me because as a parent I would NEVER, NEVER allow a drink known to contain alcohol to be brought to school. How upsetting for everyone involved. I truly do empathize with everyone involved, family and school. But I think rather than a “victimization moment” and a “lawsuit moment” it’s an “education moment.”

            October 16th, 2012 10:39 am
          • Good Grief

            I did some research beyond this article and read more of the details, like the schools interaction with the parent and exactly what they did while the kid was being interrogated. Knowing more of those details is what leads me to believe the parents are within their rights to consult a lawyer. I would rarely consider such a drastic response, but at some point I feel the authorities should be held accountable. It’s not the first time that “zero tolerance” has been taken way farther than it should. We had an incident in one of our schools recently with a toy gun. Again, zero tolerance caused the situation to be blown out of proportion.
            Jill, I’ve been thinking the same thing all along, we can agree to disagree. I hope my posts reflect that thought.

            October 16th, 2012 11:02 am
          • Eliza

            Jill, I won’t speak specifically of what happened to my child, but generally speaking, as a high school student she was interrogated by police in the school much like this event was described, without my being called before, during or after, and she was totally innocent. It had nothing to do with Kombucha or alcohol or mind-altering substances. There were no gray areas. It was completely black and white: there were false accusations, there was complete innocence on her part, and also an abusive interrogation and investigation directed at our family. And no apologies were given for the trauma caused to her or to us. False statements were taken and threats were made to remove the children from my home, based upon lies and a preconceived agenda — not facts. No proper (thorough and fair) investigation was made. I could not believe that this could happen in America. But I had never encountered such a thing before, blessed as our family had been. This was tyranny and after a lifetime of believing in the goodness of people and giving benefits of doubts and so on… well, if it can happen to a good, decent, loving family like ours, it can happen to you and yours, too. We are no different from any other normal, good family. You can turn over every rock and look in every closet — you will not find one skeleton or “something we must be hiding.” There is and was nothing. That is why I take such a strong stand against abuse by authorities, these days.

            But like I said…. and this is not meant specifically directed at you (though your comments sparked it), this is very, very hard for someone to “get” if it has never happened (or not yet happened) to them or their child.

            The way the school acted towards the child — and this is just an example, it is not an isolated incident — can happen to ANY child, whether totally innocent or as in this case, probably totally innocent (we do not know from the story what the child may have done to catch the attention of the school personnel — bragging about drinking alcohol? I don’t know). The objection has nothing to do with any zero tolerance policy being followed or not (that is a separate subject). My objection and the objection of many is how over the top the authorities were in their treatment of and investigation of the child. Without parents being called or being present. Completely unnecessary, misguided, scary, traumatic, abusive. That’s wrong and the school must be called on it. Backpedalling to do damage control after the fact is not acceptable. Also it is a “teachable moment” and now is the time to teach all of our kids how to stand up for their rights in a situation like this.

            As for zero tolerance policies, I am aware that people will disagree on this. We all have our reasons. I’m for following rules and if you don’t think the rules are just or reasonable, then try to change the rules. I personally think zero tolerance policies (if this is indeed what was a factor, and I don’t know that it was) are NOT a good thing. They tend to obstruct use of judgment and critical thinking, turning us and our children into mindless robots, which short-circuits our empathy and humanness — and sets us up for abuse by authorities, like what happened in this school. There are other (better) ways of teaching our children about ethics, morals, healthy behaviors.

            And also, side note: I believe it is legal in every state for parents to serve their children small amounts of alcohol in their own residence. And questioning children about this without their parents being present is a gross invasion of the family’s privacy.

            October 16th, 2012 11:13 am
          • S

            Jill, you keep bringing up ZERO tolerance. 0.05% IS ZERO alcohol when it comes to real alcohol consumption. Others on these responses are saying that fruit juice and fruit that has sat in a bag for a few hours contains the same amount of alcohol, which is basically NOTHING. So, I am afraid that your ZERO tolerance argument here is moot. I don’t know how you cannot sympathize with the possible (very probable) trauma that this child has endured. It is a heartless way of looking at this situation and humans are not black and white when it comes to these types of situations. We have brains and can analyze if certain reactions are appropriate. In this case, the school’s reactions were not appropriate and no one used their brains. To follow protocol blindly is the definition of stupidity in my opinion, especially when it is ABUSIVE TO A CHILD. Additionally, I highly suspect they BROKE protocol here.

            October 16th, 2012 11:43 am
          • Judith

            Jill, I think you have not understood fully what the school did to this boy. Apparently, they did not call the parents. This is how Sarah summarized what they did:

            “You call keeping a child in the school office for the entire day, interrogating him about where/when he obtained this “illegal” beverage, telling him he may have to transfer to another school, attempting to sign him up for a youth alcoholics program and then having him sign a 5 day suspension notice “no disciplinary action?” ”

            To me, these actions were beyond extreme. They could have taken the beverage away and called the parents to remind them that no alcohol is allowed on campus. Perhaps the parents did not realize that 0.05% is considered “alcohol.” Five one-hundredths of one percent. They could have taken out their math skills as educators, and realized that there is virtually no alcohol in that beverage, and that many things allowed on campus, such as oranges and vanilla cookies, have just as much or more.

            Yes, the parents were naive in sending kombucha with a label on it. But that child was traumatized for nothing, because the authorities overreacted bigtime. They did not think; they did not put kombucha into perspective, and they went to extreme measures. They didn’t even use arithmetic.

            October 16th, 2012 11:58 am
      • S

        Jill, I also want to address your comment questioning if “a little bullying” is ok in a zero tolerance school. What? You cannot compare this situation with bullying. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you, but bullying is harming another child while drinking kombucha is beneficial to the child who was drinking it. I don’t mean to attack you in any way, but I am literally shaking my head on this one. There is no logic behind your statement.

        October 16th, 2012 11:56 am Reply
        • jill

          My issue is that people love to play victim, and massage and change rules so they can be the special one for which rules do not apply. Look I can even agree, due to my knowledge of the drink, it’s all a HUGE totally sad misunderstanding of what that drink was. My point (which you applied your own logic, certainly not mine) in using bullying is that ‘zero tolerance means ZERO, not .05%, not any. You missed my point and I can see we are both coming from this with hugely different ideals. I follow the basic rules of my children’s school even if I don’t like them when it means punishment could come our way. That’s just how I do it. It was an error on the part of all involved. I am most disgusted at the ‘sue-them!” comments however. Sue your own school district? Yeah that will teach… no one. Only one party suffering there… kids. Oh sorry kids and tax payers. Obsurd! They could go for some sensitivity training but please… Sue-happy people… blaaa…

          October 16th, 2012 12:43 pm Reply
          • Derek

            You say you follow rules, then why shouldn’t the school follow rules? There are rules on how children and people are to be questioned and dealt with, none of those rules allow for intimidation such as threatening to transfer and rehab programs.

            It is not playing victim when something has happened to you that is against the law such as this. You are obviously blinded by a bias that no one else but you knows. If we are to play by the rules than so should the people in positions of authority. That is the point plain and simple and why you still don’t see it I can not fathom. Is it really that hard to understand the problem isn’t the drink or taking of the drink. The problem is the way the child was secluded away in a room with armed police officer and officials drilling him. I just don’t see how a parent would think thats okay.

            October 16th, 2012 2:10 pm
          • Good Grief

            Just because people are commenting that suing could be a good course of action, doesn’t make us sue-happy. Sue-happy people are the ones who sue McDonalds for millions of dollars because they got burned when they spilled coffee on themselves. This is a serious situation in which the authorities went too far.

            October 16th, 2012 2:11 pm
  • Celeste Skousen via Facebook

    I say test the orange juice for alcohol content. These people don’t know what they’re talking about — and they definitely went waaaay overboard in their response. Poor kid.

    October 15th, 2012 9:32 pm Reply
  • Jody

    As a person who has had family in the Newport-Mesa school district, I think they really need to stop worrying about kombucha and focus on the REAL problems in their district. Considering my nephew was offered drugs by another student while at school, and considering it’s common knowledge that there are places kids use on campus during school hours, kombucha is the LAST thing they need to be looking at. What a joke!!

    October 15th, 2012 9:23 pm Reply
  • Kelly Kindig via Facebook

    Wow! While I think initially confiscation of it would have been appropriate given their lack of knowledge on this product, detaining the child w/o parents and everything else was irresponsible and irrational. These people are supposed to well versed in research! I have found that even officers don’t always investigate a situation the way they should.
    They should have looked it up since it was in the original bottle. I would have sent it in a personal bottle instead, I often send vitamin drinks in stainless steel bottles. I don’t want a confrontation for taking care of my children.

    October 15th, 2012 9:17 pm Reply
  • Lynda Smith via Facebook


    October 15th, 2012 9:14 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Barborka via Facebook

    I send my kid to school with kombucha and have no problems.

    October 15th, 2012 9:04 pm Reply
  • Maria Phillips via Facebook

    You did good, Sarah! Wow!

    October 15th, 2012 8:58 pm Reply
  • Maggie Goodman Russell via Facebook

    According to Live Strong they better check their bakegoods tooBaked Goods Baked goods made with vanilla extract or other extract flavoring that contain alcohol retain some of the alcohol. Desserts such as cookies made with vanilla extract baked for 15 minutes still retain 40 percent of their alcohol content. Pies and cakes cooked for 60 minutes retain 25 percent of their original alcohol content.

    Read more:

    October 15th, 2012 8:57 pm Reply
  • Sara Jo Poff via Facebook

    Spin! If they ban kombucha on the basis of its .05% alcohol, they’re going to have to ban orange juice, grape juice, yogurt, kefir, etc. too!

    October 15th, 2012 8:57 pm Reply
  • Phoenix Frost Ulfhamr via Facebook


    October 15th, 2012 8:50 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Minor in Possession of Tea is Suspended from Cali School; Interrogated By Police « Content Curated By Darin R. McClure & a few photos

  • Stanley

    The school’s pathetic explanation is an epic fail! You do not get exonerated from doing wrong by backtracking after the deed is done, which is exactly what the school is trying to do. That child has already been humiliated, punished for nothing, denied his constitutional rights, and bullied. Those wrongs should be compensated.

    Thanks again, Sarah, for reporting the truth about this disgusting event.

    October 15th, 2012 4:26 pm Reply
  • BC

    Listen granny or gramps! There’s no LOL button and the Google can help you learn a few things! ;0) (is the Smiley face more to your liking) I run into plenty of idiots from public schools! That’s not the point! You people seem to think home schooled kids are the answer and I just think you’re wrong! And if you are a home schooler you are proving my point! Your logic and reasoning skills are horrible! You take ridiculous incidents and use them to justify your decisions! You do realize what schitzo means right? Because using it in that context makes no earthly sense?!
    Why aren’t these incidents just evidence that there are idiots all around us?! But no it must be the schools? I did very well in one of those horrible school systems. And I managed to make it to college without being bullied, shot, suspended for hugging anyone and I was allowed to drink all the kombucha I wanted. Lol! (just seems appropriate here.) Then I took all that scholarship money that my horrible school helped me win and used it to succeed in college, at the undergraduate level and graduate level! Yes its your right to teach your kid how you wish, I just wish you’d shut up while you’re doing it! Its really distracting to those of us trying to change the world! :0) Lol!(I just couldn’t resist)

    October 15th, 2012 3:19 pm Reply
    • BC

      This was an attempt to respond to D. above.

      October 15th, 2012 4:51 pm Reply
      • D.

        Well, BC, you’ve certainly proved the point that we’re surrounded by idiots. Even supposedly educated ones. If you couldn’t understand my post, I feel very sorry for you.

        October 15th, 2012 5:27 pm Reply
        • BC

          If I were penning your comments myself, I couldn’t have written it any funnier. Really, the “I feel sorry for you” comeback?! Did you miss that whole kid who doesn’t like the game part of my comments. If you did, you would have chosen a different one. “I didn’t want to play your stupid game anyway!” and “my games are better anyway!” and when those didn’t work, “I feel sorry for you!” Clever! I apologize for the idiot remarks, if you thought I was referring to you. If I had known you had such witty comebacks, I would have chosen a different word! ;o)

          October 15th, 2012 6:32 pm Reply
  • priceless22

    Number one…the pic you used of the boy, and the Guinness glass, DOES NOT help the child in question!

    Number two…the school district has done their job of realizing the principal did wrong, and will research other ways to handle this situation. That is over. Wasn’t our first child the child of experiments, and mistakes? Did we not learn from raising our first child, not to do it again, with our second? Same with the school and an “unheard of” drink!

    Number three…let the child drink Kombucha at home..and drink the OTHER healthy drink at school……purified water!

    October 15th, 2012 2:45 pm Reply
    • DaveR

      It’s not the “unheard of” drink. It’s the school turning into complete Nazis, holding a student incommunicado for hours with police present, doing interrogation, and not calling the parents. Just who the hell do they think they are? That’s the point. Don’t their protocols say something about informing the parents? Didn’t they have Legal Affairs look over the rules they concocted?

      October 15th, 2012 6:27 pm Reply
  • BC

    Some of you truly sound a bit schitzo! Yes some schools are horrible but so are some parent teachers! Indoctrination? Brainwashing? I’m guessing you don’t believe in the medicine that might help quiet the voices in your head! And I love how it is assumed that the best way to learn is from one person, without the inclusion of different view points. There is something to be learned from people who dont look like me, didnt grow up around me or just have a flat out different opinion than me! But hey your C+ plus average high school education is sure to make you a great teacher! I am a well educated man and I would do pretty well as a teacher in any setting. My kid would have a great understanding of facts but the social learning aspect would be missing which is important in learning how facts and laws effect people in our community differently. This is my tenth time saying this about home schoolers on this site, but for every well mannered wise-beyond -their- years dynamo, I have met just as many socially inept, undisciplined idiots whose parents think they’re great! Not all parents are created equal! I have coached youth sports for awhile and I have had the opportunity to interact with lots of home schooled kids. The difference you notice right away! Not always the case, but lots of times the home schoolers have trouble following directions! They might listen or they might decide they want to play with the ball by themselves. I work with most parents in this situation, because I realize that’s the reason they’re here. To gain the social part! Some parents don’t seem to get that in order to play group sports, some form of obedience, cooperation and discipline is required. If they won’t listen, I recommend tennis or golf! lol! But I’m sure all your kids are great! lol!

    October 15th, 2012 1:40 pm Reply
    • D.

      @ BC: I believe you’ve worn out the “LOL” button now. AND – if you’re an example of a well educated man, you had me fooled all the way through your post.

      [QUOTE FROM BC’s post:] “This is my tenth time saying this about home schoolers on this site, but for every well mannered wise-beyond -their- years dynamo, I have met just as many socially inept, undisciplined idiots whose parents think they’re great! [end of quote] Oh c’mon. The very same can be said of kids trained up in public schools. If you want to see undisciplined kids, pick a public high school, any public high school.

      There are lots of ways for children to have social interaction and today’s public schools are certainly not the answer. I remember reading an article a few years back about some cute little kindergartener who landed in trouble because he hugged one of his classmates. Remember that? Oh but that’s a sign of socially intelligent public schools. Who did you say was schizo?

      October 15th, 2012 2:20 pm Reply
      • T

        In response to BC, I find it amazing that people who don’t homeschool think they know what it’s all about. In fact, one cannot even generalize about what homeschooling is as each family does it differently. I do want to clear up some HUGE misconceptions about what it is though. To think that the children are learning only from the homeschooling parent is just not true. In my metropolitan area, there are homeschooling classes offered all day, every day, in all imaginable topics. Those classes are taught by people other than the children’s parents. They are out in the world learning and being exposed to more variety of people and activities than the kids in school, who see the same people everyday of the year! There is so much homeschooling activity that most of us are overwhelmed by the choices of classes and activities, so that whole lack of socializing is the most misunderstood aspect of homeschooling. The kids have the chance to socialize all day if the parents choose. Kids in school are not allowed to talk to each other. Trust me on this one, I know it’s true. Making friends in school is nearly IMPOSSIBLE. Lots of home-schooled kids do online curriculums and book-based curriculum, so in fact the teachers are not the parents. The parents did not create those curricula. When left to their own learning, many of these kids take the work and run with it, meaning that the parents are not like teachers in school, standing in front of the kids teaching them all day. It’s not like that at all. The kids are self-guided learners in many cases and they graduate from “high school” typically 1-3 years early. Colleges accept home-schooled kids over schooled children. This is a new trend that happened once the admission departments started noticing how much more well-adjusted the kids were and how they were academically superior to school kids.

        If you do not believe in the indoctrination and brainwashing program in effect in school, then I guess you have not seen this:

        An excerpt from the above website:

        Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education, blew the whistle in the `80s on government activities withheld from the public. Her inside knowledge will help you protect your children from controversial methods and programs. In this book you will discover:

        -how good teachers across America have been forced to use controversial, non-academic me
        -how “school choice” is being used to further dangerous reform goals, and how home schooling and private education are especially vulnerable.
        -how workforce training (school-to-work) is an essential part of an overall plan for a global economy, and how this plan will shortcircuit your child’s future career plans and opportunities.
        -how the international, national, regional, state and local agendas for education reform are all interconnected and have been for decades.

        October 15th, 2012 3:39 pm Reply
        • BC

          I don’t know how this is in response to my post?? First off every home school parent always says the same things about their kids. “My child does great with other kids and socializes just fine.” Yes, to you! It’s almost laughable. The same can be said for public school kids in other areas and yes even in socializing with others. However, you people always seem to have the exalted view of your children and those like yours. Public school parents aren’t immune to the my-kid-can-do-no-wrong syndrome, but it seems we have a better grasp on reality. If you’re saying that there are no socialization problems in a good portion of children who are home schooled, one would have to imagine that you yourself might have been similarly categorized before. You speak of not generalizing and then speak in generalizations? Again, I’m sure there are plenty of home schooled children who are academic wunderkin. Even at a greater rate than, public schools. That’s not my argument. And I’m not sure why it’s even controversial. When kids are taken out of public schools for private schools or home schooling, the public schools loose out. Whether you think that’s good or not is another subject. I went to several great public schools but I realize not every public school experience is as mine was. You guys just keep spouting off about how bad public schools are. Sounds like generalization to me?? While at the same time acting like every parent who takes their child out of public schools is Mother Theresa?? Your logic assumes those kids who did well being home schooled wouldn’t have done well in public schools. Do some kids do better? Yes, of course. But its still flawed logic! I have a friend who is always to bad mouthing “the system.” He refuses not participate in town hall meetings, vote, run for office of any kind nor anything else that might improve the situation. He just talks shit! You’re the kids who don’t like the game so they take their ball and go home. That’s your right. You just don’t have to do it like a whiny little B! “Their game is stupid anyway. Humph! I didn’t want to play anyway!” Shut up already or do something about!! Oh yeah, I forgot. You already believe you are.

          October 15th, 2012 5:26 pm Reply
          • DaveR

            Hey, BC. Instead of hijacking the comments and turning it to what appears to be your pet peeve regarding home schooling, why don’t you write your own article, include some good citations supporting your views and let people comment on that subject?

            Otherwise why don’t you just STFU? I strongly doubt you’ll do either.

            October 15th, 2012 5:53 pm
          • BC

            I’ve only responded to some idiotic comments about public schools. I’m not downing home schooling any more than public or private. But don’t post stupid comments if you don’t want people to challenge them! The post was about an idiot who violated a kids civil rights. I must have missed the “bash public schools” sub-title. It seems I walked into a hornets nest of homeschooling activist! Others read this posts as well. If some parent, is out there considering home schooling or private schooling over public, its obviously your decision, but that decision effect on everyone! @DaveR if that’s all you have to bring to the conversation, then take you own advise. Well, the STFU part at least. The blog wouldn’t make much sense if you don’t have anything to say!

            October 15th, 2012 6:19 pm
          • DaveR

            Look down the list for my other comments. Maybe we could stick to the subject of the article? The article had nothing to do with homeschooling.

            October 15th, 2012 6:23 pm
          • BC

            Then stop talking ish to me and make your point else where! Again, all my comments have been in defense of the public school system. If I made a few jokes, it was only to illustrate the ridiculousness of the some of these comments and the vitriol way in which they were delivered!

            October 15th, 2012 6:38 pm
          • BC

            Thats vitriolic. Oops

            October 15th, 2012 6:40 pm
      • Ellen

        BC is a middle or high school kid. The LOL, excessive use of exclamation points, and see below for “the public schools loose out.” (Hang loose, man!) Not to mention four letter words. This is how adolescent boys write.

        BC likes to say homeschoolers are all bad because he says so. And you’re (or he would spell “your”) an idiot that needs to be medicated if you don’t agree! You don’t need to read the entire comment, it’s always the same. Because he says so! Because he says so lol! You’re an idiot! No evidence or anything tangible is included. Often there are huge contradictions in what he says.

        BC personifies everything that is broken in public schools illogical, incoherent, inconsistent, irrelevant . . . thank you BC for giving me another reason I’m glad my kids are nowhere near other kids like you.

        October 16th, 2012 12:48 am Reply
        • BC

          I love how you criticize me for calling names, then you follow that up, by calling me a name. You people are just a little defensive about your home schooled kids. I said no such thing about home schooled kids being bad! And you question my logic! And if graduating at the top of my class, not having to pay for my college education and receiving several academic awards along the way, makes me an idiot, then so be it! But I suspect, as with most of the people responding to my post, you just don’t like what I’m saying! Exclamations, Lol, misspellings make me an idiot? Then just about everyone that has commented is an idiot! Its your ideas that make you an idiot!(I know how that little mark pisses you of but… well I actually like that it pisses you off) How about Smiley faces, do they get your dander up too. :-)
          I’m typing on my phone while I should be working. So my apologies if you don’t feel its worthy of a law review. And judging by some the comments, I am a bit younger than most of the people here!
          And yes I am repeating myself. I did not say all home school children are bad! That makes about as much sense as you do! (another one). SO LET ME DUMB IT DOWN FOR YOU!(All caps means I’m yelling grandma) When your house is robbed, be sure to ask the officer coming to assist you, if he attended public school. How about that fireman? And when your little darling finds himself in a bind, be sure to request a lawyer that was home schooled. People walk into my office who want help dealing with situations outlined in this article, and no one has ever asked me where I went to elementary school. Seems you people accept some of those public school alums as worthy?! If you don’t want your ideas challenged then don’t post in a public forum! Just keep saying the system is broken. It seems your belief is all that matters even with evidence to the contrary. I’m used to this type of arguing! My wife argues against positions I’m not staking out, all the time. Lol! (oops, and no I’m not going back to edit or spell check this for you, but I understand home school parents are good at that) :0)

          October 16th, 2012 12:21 pm Reply
          • BC

            and if my wife is on here, I was just joking baby. ;0)

            October 16th, 2012 12:24 pm
          • Ellen

            What logic? What are you saying that is debatable and not opinion?

            You don’t make me feel angry. I feel very sorry that you graduated highly but cannot properly distinguish “advise” and “advice,” spell Mother Teresa correctly or use apostrophes. (I will assume that key is broken or you texted through that lesson.) This is all basic primary English usage and not being able to communicate does, in fact, make you an idiot. I feel even sorrier that your work ethic (or lack thereof) allows you to feel it is appropriate to comment on company time. If I read your writing as an example of your generation’s ability, you are living evidence that public schools have dumbed down their students.

            Any time you would like to posit something, please do. I’m still waiting. This is called a debate or exchange of ideas. Yelling and opining are not.

            Again, more of “you’re wrong because I say so.” Good luck to you!

            October 16th, 2012 5:14 pm
          • BC

            You did it again. LOL! This is not a debate. What are we debating? You’ve only commented on my grammar and punctuation! And as for my work ethic… I own this firm! I built it!(And I don’t mean that to sound so Republican)
            All you’re doing is trading barbs with me. If you have something specific to say then say it.
            My generation?? Your generation has done a bang up job! We’re still cleaning up your mess. I respect my elders but this “your generation” crap is just that, crap. My mother gets on me to this day about my text lingo. And?? That’s it? What do you want to debate? Say something or take out your red marker and go to work.
            What’s this “because I say so” mess? I didn’t know that it was so controversial to state that public schools have turned out quality people.
            Maybe, you’re referring to previous posts?? Not sure, BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T SAID ANYTHING YET?! Your generation always has something to say about how bad we’ve become. No work ethic… this text language… twitter and facebook… I’ve heard it all before. I debate for a living. And maybe I am enjoying this a little too much, but this is the most fun I’ve had in weeks(Now that should have you feeling sorry for me). I’m guessing you don’t use a cell phone to send emails, text or comment on obscure posts. Oh, I forget, you’re probably too old to see a cell phone screen. When you type on one of these lovely devices, there’s this thing called auto-correct. And it doesn’t always get it right. Maybe I should care enough to go back and proofread but I honestly don’t! I’m sure there’s a comment forming in the blue haired head of yours about my generation and those “fancy” devices. It allows me the ability to wait on a Judge and argue with some old bitty(?) about… well I’m not sure. What are we debating again?

            October 16th, 2012 6:54 pm
          • BC

            And if you agree with most of these posts, then you are proof that wisdom does not always come with age! I would have stated that in the earlier post but it honestly took me second to come up with a suitable comeback! :0)Damn that public school education.

            October 16th, 2012 8:52 pm
          • BC

            Someone else pointed out that my style can be confusing. They pointed out that not everyone speaks “tweet.” Here’s what I shared.

            I have become so used to sending texts, tweeting and posting quick comments on facebook that I guess it’s just gotten so easy. It’s the new shorthand. When you’re typing with your thumbs on a 4 inch screen, where half the screen is keyboard, you tend to cut corners. With auto-correct, word suggest and Swype, you can communicate quickly in environments you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Most people sending texts know the dangers of auto-connect! ;o) Scrolling back thru your comment to proofread almost defeats the purpose. I am not trying to be condescending. I can now see why some of my “debates” were so strange.
            LOL- most people get this one but it doesn’t actually mean I’m laughing out loud. It means the sentence before is a joke. Or you’re quite pleased with how witty you think your sentence was.
            ;o)- The wink is meant to relay sarcasm or to let the person know it’s a joke.
            :)- The smile is just letting the person know that, you meant your statement in a light-hearted way. Or again, they are pleased with something they said.
            ?- After a statement, means you are questioning something they said.
            ??- means you know what they said, but it doesn’t make any sense.
            In the age of the tweet, Thru=through, u=you, c=see and so on. And apostrophes are just annoying and require you to switch screens sometimes.
            That is brief tutorial of texting lingo. Im sure there’s generational joke just dancing in someones head right now but I hope that helps. :)

            October 17th, 2012 1:00 pm
        • BC

          Ive stated nothing that needs a citation?! But if you want evidence of some sort ask for it. What are you questioning?

          October 16th, 2012 12:31 pm Reply
  • Leauxra

    I believe orange juice contains more alcohol than that. ALL orange juice contains alcohol.

    This is simply ignorance and ridiculousness.

    October 15th, 2012 1:02 pm Reply
  • D.

    Thought some readers might be interested in this article about how the whole world is simply mad about education – and how education in today’s world is simply mad.

    [short quote from article]: ”
    So, if kids aren’t learning to work and play in their traditional cultures, but they aren’t learning to read or do math in these atrocious schools either, what are they learning? In a word, obedience.”
    [end of quote]

    Exactly. Like I mentioned in an above post, the kids are set up to be little trained robots and I do believe that has been the plan for some time. Parents just didn’t realize it and connect the dots until recently. Forced issues like this kombucha debacle make it even more evident.

    October 15th, 2012 11:42 am Reply
  • wendell

    As a regular reader of Acres magazine and after reading Joel Salatin’s book: Folks, this ain’t normal, nothing really surprises me anymore. It disappoints me and angers me, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. The raw milk raids with automatic weapons and swat teams don’t happen with the pharmacy that sold a product that has killed 15 people that they know of and sickened over 170 people out of the 14,000 that were injected with this steroid. Fair play, no way.
    If this child was an adult, he would have been advised of his legal rights, but since he was a minor, they harassed and interrogated him all day with police officers who I assume are armed with loaded weapons without his parents consent of knowledge and I would be seven kinds of angry.
    This reminds me of the two cases earlier this year where the food police at two schools decided that the healthy home prepared food wasn’t good enough to eat but the industrial poison in the luch room was and it wasn’t up to the parents discretion, but some obese teacher who probably wanted that good food for theirselves. Maybe that’s a tad irrational, but when I read stories like this I have to really pray about the way I feel about people like this. Whatever happened to common sense anyway.
    However, posting the 4 letter words don’t help and do hurt the image of people who want to return to traditional values, food and raise their children the way the feel is best and not the politically correct food police. Wash your mouth out with some natural soap and try to express yourselves with dignity as I am sure children to read this blog, also.

    October 15th, 2012 11:22 am Reply
  • Pingback: Lunchbox police strike again as child suspended from school over Kombucha | The Bovine

  • Eliza

    What I hope you all understand is that school employees are given training to be mandated reporters in case of *suspected* child abuse and neglect. Their jobs are on the line if they fail to report. Having said that, where I believe this system and training breaks down is that it fires some employees up to report at the least little sneaking suspicion of a problem. You know, “see something, say something.” This is one step short of turning us into a Nazi-fied country of neighbors spying on neighbors. We all need to put a collective stop to this!

    The other thing that happens is that some employees are naive and wellmeaning, in many cases young and do not yet have children themselves, so they lack the perspective of what a good parent looks like, what a neglectful parent looks like, and they shoot first and ask questions later. They do not care, in fact are completely unaware of the fallout to families — especially if their reporting triggers a CPS investigation!

    What would be far better is for parents as a group to proactively approach their school and put them on notice about the policy having to do with mandated reporting. Tell them that parents need to be notified immediately of any concerns, before any police are called in or reports made, in order to clear up those many instances of misunderstandings (like Kombucha) and put things into perspective.

    As for abused and neglected children, not saying that doesn’t happen, but false accusations exact a terrible toll on families, and it is never OK to err on the side of caution and just set a CPS investigation into motion, willy nilly. This is serious business. These investigations traumatize good families that are falsely accused.

    October 15th, 2012 9:33 am Reply
  • Brooke

    Wow! We really do live in 1984, don’t we? Pulling a student out of class, getting interrogated by the VP and a cop, and then signing a suspension form = no disciplinary action just like 2 + 2 does not equal 4. This stuff sucks when it happens, but I like to think it gets people mad enough to quit this crap. We can’t control everyone’s behavior on everything. Sure, there are things that everyone needs to do for the public good, but we can’t control everyone’s actions. We can’t legislate morality. We can’t legislate health requirements like stupid vaccines. We need to start taking responsibility for ourselves, our morals and principles, and how we raise our children. It’s about time we start taking back control of this country from corrupt people on both sides of the political aisle and from the local level, like these crazy school districts, all the way up to the federal level. This nonsense has to stop. It’s freaking kombucha….

    October 15th, 2012 9:17 am Reply
  • Andrea

    Here is a very good music video that is against drugging our kids. It’s not the style of music that I normally listen to but it has a good message.

    The song is called Define Better by Chill EB.

    October 15th, 2012 8:46 am Reply
    • Stephanie

      Thank you for sharing that video. It was very moving, profound and true.

      October 15th, 2012 3:45 pm Reply
  • Izumi

    Also, welcome to the real world, kid Where you get in trouble for victimless crimes. better to learn this sad fact earlier than later. true story.

    October 14th, 2012 10:05 pm Reply
  • Izumi

    This was posted on the previous article but needs to be posted again here…

    So, you’re mad at the school? Need I mention that the parents in question are sending their child to a government run institutionalized indoctrination center? And they were dumb enough to break the rules? Are we really suprised that in today’s overreactive nanny-culture police state that there was overreaction? Also, are we aware that this whole stupid episode could have been avoided by using a thermos? Just Sayin’

    October 14th, 2012 9:58 pm Reply
    • D.

      @ Izumi: Well, that is not to say that he might not have been found to have the kombucha just because it was in a thermos. That’s not a guarantee. So the point here is to educate people about what to tell their children. The first thing all parents who have children in public schools should tell them is that they don’t have to say a word to anyone in a situation like this. Adults don’t have to, either, for that matter. Whenever you talk to authority figures, it’s practically their job to distort your words, so the less said the better.

      October 14th, 2012 10:09 pm Reply
      • Eliza

        Well said. This is the point I hope can be hammered home to anyone who has not (yet!) had a scary encounter with “police state” behavior and is still lulled into thinking we can move about freely and without any of our rights being violated because if we behave, then the authorities (in this case, the school and the police) will behave.

        Unfortunately, we no longer live in that kind of world. Perhaps there are pockets of communities where most everyone (the people and the authorities) behave, but if you live in one of those communities now, be aware that the encroachment is happening.

        So prepare yourself and your children now. Again, the main thing I wish I had “thought to do” was to include in my child’s education (by me to them — not the school-based indoctrination) FIRMLY what their rights are, and what they need to do to stand up for them. This includes absolutely NOT talking to authorities without parent notification or being present.

        As with all of the other things I have taught my children, such as “stranger danger,” there are ways to teach them how to navigate through the world in all sorts of situations, to increase their confidence and not cause them to be scared or pathologically mistrustful. I want my kids to have a realistic view of the world and thus be able to take care of themselves. This requires foreknowledge of the type of world they live in and the types of situations they are likely to encounter.

        Sigh. I had mistakenly thought I could put off this lesson, as I had been unaware of the danger. But yeah, the public schools in general (and many private schools) are rapidly becoming way worse than they were even ten years ago. I say this particularly to parents of young children. I did a little homeschooling, couldn’t do more than I did, but I do think that is the way to go, if you can, for many reasons.

        And please teach your kids about their rights and how to defend them. Sad but so very true.

        October 15th, 2012 5:49 am Reply
  • Gary in Bali

    I have sent he following e mail to the School board,
    You should also harass them just as they harassed others.


    I am contacting you to let you know what a disgraceful act you committed with this
    ” Alcholic Tea” fiasco.

    Your lies and pathetic cover ups are not fooling anyone..tis family have been NATIONALLY and INTERNATIONALLY disgraced and their rights abused by your school board.

    They deserve a full Public Apology from you in the Local Papers.and should be awarded compensation, If it were me. you would already have had my Attorney at your office serving papers.

    You are nothing more than power crazed jackbooters who want to throw their weight around….

    The Principal should be given 5 days suspension without pay as retribution for that poor kids traumatic experience.
    I am posting links to your Board members on every website I can find and I hope you get a severe kicking for this.


    Bali Indonesia

    October 14th, 2012 8:59 pm Reply
    • Bullyingwarrior

      Thank you for taking your time to write to the NMUSD Board and others with the horrific corruption they are inflicting on our children, families, Good Teachers and others.
      My investigations go back almost “20years”, of the unlawful, criminal acts, school policies broken and created to coverup nepotism practices to DESTROY young children, shatter families trust in school officials, take away the dedicated and devoted Teachers that quit teaching public school indefinitely with retaliation when reporting complaints and claims. Can you imagine going to the police departments, District Attorney, Dept. of Education, and many other responsable Governement Educational positions and they DO NOTHING TO STEP IN TO HELP! Shocking enough to imagine some joined in on a topic rarely discussed, Bullying From Top School Officials.
      The paper trail for over 2 years has been given to the District Attorney in Orange and the family and NMUSD Community are very interested in what their investigation concludes with and we all are hoping the DEPT. OF JUSTICE looks into these matters and criminal charges will be filed and not only accountability takes place, resignations immediately given and they can’t work around children ever again.
      Look under the following sites to follow the story beginning 6-14-11 to the present time.
      YouTube: Bullyingwarrior
      Twitter: Bullyingwarrior
      Facebook: Bullying Principals and Teachers

      April 25th, 2013 3:07 am Reply
  • Jeb

    I am grateful for the healthy home economist website and all the useful information I have gleaned from it. What happened in this school is unfortunate and needed to be pointed out to the public so the misinformation about healthy food choices could be addressed. Rather than bringing lawsuits against the school, perhaps a wiser choice would be to use this as an inroad to teach and inform rather than use this incident as a means of breeding contempt and an attitude of “us” versus “them”. In other words, perhaps the threat of a lawsuit from a student whose rights were violated and the ensuing possible legal actions could be turned into an opportunity for some teaching about the food choices we all feel so strongly about. I believe it was my mother who taught me I’d catch more flies with honey than vinegar. What’s done, is done and prolonging it would be hardest on the child who has endured this humiliation. Turn this into a positive and show him and all involved the reason we choose to eat this way. Ask for an opportunity to write an article in their paper, on their website or be a guest speaker in a science or debate class and start informing people.

    October 14th, 2012 8:28 pm Reply
  • Eliza

    Sorry for another post so quick on the heels of the other one — my main point I wished to make and think I did not, is to warn parents, please consider now, in advance, how you will prepare your children in case the worst should happen — that they get called to a principal’s office and an interrogation begins, perhaps (especially if!) police officers are called, etc. Unfortunately it is most likely that parents will NOT be called. Don’t think that you and your kids are safe from this happening because you are a “good” family. Consider if you want to instruct your children now, beforehand, that should something like this ever happen, that they do not have to sign anything, talk to anyone, etc. unless and until their parents are called and are present, and they should request/demand this asap. They do not have to talk otherwise! And if you don’t want them to, then instruct them accordingly. I wish I had instructed my kids — but it had never occurred to me that any such thing would ever happen to them, so I did not.

    This is a very large and somewhat hidden problem, so again thank you Sarah for shining light on it.

    October 14th, 2012 8:26 pm Reply
  • Amanda

    Ok, so if they allow no alcohol on school grounds I assume they interrogate any child that comes to school with gum as quite a few are made with alcohol and certain types of chocolate (especially the diet kind) because they contain chocolate liquor?

    October 14th, 2012 7:35 pm Reply
  • paghat

    Hey Mike, the amount of alcohol in kombucha is equal to the amount of alcohol in a fresh orange. Not by any stretch was any of this behavior on the part of the adults involved justifiable or even rational. They should all be subjected to serious career-effecting treatment for sick and assaultive behavior toward children.

    October 14th, 2012 6:58 pm Reply
  • Lewis

    the kid in the photo looks wasted lol brilliant

    October 14th, 2012 6:51 pm Reply
  • Chris

    I think the school is right to say it shouldn’t be allowed. While the amount of alcohol is minuscule for an adult, 0.05% is actually quite a bit for a child.

    That being said, they definitely should have contacted the parents and let them know that there would be disciplinary actions next time, as it’s obvious that they sent this with their child.

    October 14th, 2012 6:41 pm Reply
    • DaveR

      0.05% is a percentage, not an amount. How is that “quite a bit for a child” as you state? What you wrote makes no sense whatever! Seriously, did you even take a math class?

      October 14th, 2012 7:17 pm Reply
      • BC

        Now that made no sense?? The percentage does represent an amount?? Having said that, .05% isn’t quite a bit for a child.

        October 16th, 2012 6:02 pm Reply
        • Judhith

          BC, it’s not clear whether you know what percentage means. It is like a fraction, with 100 being the denominator. So 0.05 percent means the same as five one-hundredths percent, which equals 5/10,000 of the total volume of the drink, or 1/2,000 of the total volume of the drink as alcohol. (I’m tired, but I think my math is correct. Someone correct me if not.)

          One two-thousandth would be an infinitesimal amount of alcohol in an 8 oz. bottle of kombucha. I’d have to do more math to translate it into mL and I’m too tired now, but it is very, very small.

          so you see, a percentage does not give you the actual amount referred to. It is simply a fraction **of something else**, and you need to know what the percentage refers to. If it referred to a gallon of kombucha, then yes, there might be a significant amount of alcohol in it, for a child. But not with an 8 oz bottle. Or 12 oz.

          October 16th, 2012 6:28 pm Reply
          • BC

            What? First off, I just said it wasn’t a lot?? I’m not suggesting that I can magically figure out what .05% of X is? But once I know X… Again, not sure where I went wrong in that post. Reading DaveR’s post again, I assume he was making the point I just made! The assumption both myself and Chris are making is that there is an X.
            I’m saying that the .05% listed on Kombucha bottles doesn’t amount to much. See, I can be agreeable! ;o)

            October 16th, 2012 7:10 pm
          • BC

            But thanks for the math lessons. ;o)

            October 16th, 2012 7:11 pm
          • Judith

            BC, what you write is often ambiguous. I took what you wrote to mean either that the percentage itself denoted a specific amount, or that you thought that amount was a lot for a kid. It is difficult to interpret what you write and that’s why I spelled out the whole percentage thing. Adding question marks at the end of a sentence that is not a question is one practice that confuses your meaning, and may reverse your meaning completely. But there are other things about your writing style that also lead to ambiguity.

            Although you don’t want to proofread, it could make your posts more clear and would make your points stronger. I urge you to do so. If you followed the normal rules of English, we could have a better discussion with you.

            I don’t mean this is an insult in any way, but I have been a proofreader and it is very difficult to work one’s way through your posts.

            October 16th, 2012 7:38 pm
          • BC

            proofreading wouldn’t have caught that. That’s a facebook thang! lol! I can see how that post might have been confusing. If there are others, please let me know. I am trying for much shorter posts.
            Work. Then post. Work. Then post.
            My thumbs are getting tired.

            October 16th, 2012 7:54 pm
          • BC

            Judith, I have become so used to sending texts, tweeting and posting quick comments on facebook that I guess it’s just gotten so easy. It’s the new shorthand. When you’re typing with your thumbs on a 4 inch screen, where half the screen is keyboard, you tend to cut corners. With auto-correct, word suggest and Swype, you can communicate quickly in environments you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Most people sending texts know the dangers of auto-connect! ;o) Scrolling back thru your comment to proofread almost defeats the purpose. I am not trying to be condescending. I can now see why some of my “debates” were so strange.
            LOL- most people get this one but it doesn’t actually mean I’m laughing out loud. It means the sentence before is a joke. Or you’re quite pleased with how witty you think your sentence was.
            ;o)- The wink is meant to relay sarcasm or to let the person know it’s a joke.
            :o)- The smile is just letting the person know that, you meant your statement in a light-hearted way. Or again, they are pleased with something they said.
            ?- After a statement, means you are questioning something they said.
            ??- means you know what they said, but it doesn’t make any sense.
            In the age of the tweet, Thru=through, u=you, c=see and so on. And apostrophes are just annoying and require you to switch screens sometimes.
            That is brief tutorial of texting lingo. Im sure there’s generational joke just dancing in someones head right now but I hope that helps. :o)

            October 17th, 2012 12:15 pm
  • Marleena A

    I’ve read some of the comments here and the one question I see the most is “Why weren’t the parents called in before questioning the child” My neice was recently calledd into her principals office becuase she was being bullied and her mother called the principal and asked her what she was going to do to stop it. When my niece went in to the office her bullies were there, the school counselor and the principal who started bulling my niece telling her it was all her fault and her bullies were innocent if my niece wasn’t in the schoool (the only middle school with in 80 miles) she won’t be bulllied by those girls. My niece went home, told her mom , who went to the school and had words with the principal. She told the principal verbally and again in writing she was NOT to talk to my niece without her parents there to which the principal responded “No we don’t allow the parents in the room with the child when we call them in. It’s an invasion of the students privacy.” So it’s an invasion of the students privacy for parents to be in the room but not an invasion of their privacy to have the bullies in the room? Yeah. A court of law once came down with a ruling that kids do not have rights in the schools like adults do and our consitutional rights don’t apply to children unless the government decides to and that includes the schools.
    It’s sad that we have this stuff going on in this country.

    October 14th, 2012 6:28 pm Reply
  • Mike

    It just goes to show you how stupid the people teaching/disciplining our children are. In their own words…”Any percent of alcohol in a beverage is not allowed”. Thank you school principle for proving you have no IQ or intelligence at all. ALL SODA has trace amounts of alcohol. Root beer is .05 percent. Is root beer illegal? Ginger ale is .07% alcohol…Is that allowed? Coke has an admitted .02 percent…Ban any coke lately? People are so very stupid. Let a peach ferment in water with some sugar and you get, guess what?…Alcohol. Ban peaches and sugar? Just a massive look at the inadequacies of our educational system. “Those who cannot do…teach.”~George Bernard Shaw… Teach your own children. Home school yourselves first then teach them. Read before they ban books for formaldehyde content or something…

    October 14th, 2012 6:19 pm Reply
  • Eliza

    This is so important to write about, Sarah. Thank you for covering it.

    The lesson I hope everyone here gets is this: if something like this has never happened to you or a loved one, please think NOW what you would do if it does happen. Because it can.

    A few people have posted comments here indicating that they are looking for something that the boy or the family did that put them somehow at fault, or responsible for what happened. And still others are trying to excuse the school (people who work there).

    First of all — this family and this boy did nothing to deserve what happened. I don’t even care IF he told his classmates he was drinking alcohol. The first thing that should have happened if the school was concerned was to call the parents. That this was not only not the first thing they did, but apparently not the second, third, fourth etc. thing — but maybe the very last thing they did — is a chilling, scary thing. And this is happening all over the place these days, people.

    And secondly, sure people at the school “made mistakes,” but they are most definitely “responsible” for what happened. I’m sick of PR and legally CYA to the point where you cannot admit a mistake or apologize or make things right. This family’s rights were violated horribly. And that poor boy…. just like Susan commented above — something like this is traumatic and can affect someone for YEARS.

    I had something similar happen with one of my children (school-based interrogation with police, without calling parents). It may have been an insignificant, policy-following blip in that school counselor’s career, but to me and my family, nearly 2 years after the incident, we are still reeling from the repercussions.

    Absolutely, make the hugest stink possible, including legal action! And for all of you so blessed as to have never encountered such treatment, please open your eyes and realize it can happen to you. if it can happen to me and my family (we are normal, close-knit and loving) — it can happen to anyone and any family.

    Our mistake (so sad to call it that) was being confident that since we were doing nothing wrong, that we could never be caught up in the nightmare of false accusations. We had thought that happens to other people — could never happen to a family like ours. We were so blissfully ignorant. So it caught us hard, by surprise. I wish we could return to that innocent time, and I bless all of you who are still feeling confident and safe in this world (safe from unwarranted investigations by authorities), but on the other hand…. I would like to warn you, so you can prepare yourselves for a worst-case scenario and know in advance how you would respond, if something like this should happen.

    Sorry to be so negative, but that is what this horrible experience did to our previously happy, carefree family. I now feel like I have to warn everyone. :(

    October 14th, 2012 5:52 pm Reply
  • Shannon

    I work as a therapist in schools, and I love kombucha.

    And I can guarantee the only reason children knew that there was alcohol in kombucha is because this boy told them. If a student is telling his schoolmates that he’s drinking alcohol at school in front of them, I want my students to tell an adult. They did the right thing. And there is alcohol in kombucha, a staff member looked at the bottle and it is plainly labeled as such. No alcohol. Is is silly? Yes.

    The parents who sent their child to school with kombucha didn’t do anything wrong. The students who told an adult that alcohol was being consumed at school didn’t do anything wrong. And the staff at the school who saw that alcohol was being consumed didn’t do anything wrong by following protocol.

    The boy who thought it was necessary to show his classmates that he was drinking alcohol is the party in the wrong.

    October 14th, 2012 5:20 pm Reply
    • Derek

      You were right up until you didn’t say the school was wrong for interrogating the child without his parent. I understand though you work for the brain drain system and probably can’t see past your bias. The school was okay until it didn’t bring the mom in to be with the child during questioning. There is a reason for this as a person, especially a child, will admit to almost anything if they are threatened the right way. Telling this kid he’s going to drug and alcohol programs so you can get your “conviction” is not right.

      But considering your part of the school system your probably okay with this.

      October 14th, 2012 5:39 pm Reply
      • Shannon

        I’m passionate about children, parents, and family. And health. I am a parent and proponent for the right for parents and families to nourish their families as they see fit.

        And although I work primarily outside of schools, there are some parents who have opted that their children are seen during school hours and we have our sessions at their school(s).

        There are very black and white rules in our education system, set up for the safety of children. A faculty or staff member who knows nothing about kombucha and simply sees that alcohol is labeled is obligated to act upon that. There is no grey there.

        We are human beings who individually and collectively make mistakes – both institutions with imperfect policies and children with a need for attention.

        October 14th, 2012 5:50 pm Reply
        • Derek

          It is never okay to question a child without a parent/guardian present. This is the point i’m making. Your other points are valid and I understand the need for rules to be in place. But from your tip toeing around my point it appears that you may have been involved in a scenario like this or you seriously don’t value civil rights in this country. Everyone deserves councelling when being questioned. Who is to say this child didn’t say something false to just get out of being in trouble and with that false information child services and police weren’t sent to the home. Even if they found nothing there would be records against this mother for no reason. Witch hunts are still very alive in America they just aren’t looking for spell casters.

          October 15th, 2012 9:12 am Reply
          • jill

            If they see a child brought a drink containing alcohol to school, I am guessing they don’t want the parents there in order to get straight answers from him as to how often the child is allowed access to alcohol. It is the schools job to protect the child, they may have considered calling CPS if the questioning revealed regular alcohol use.
            Once they learned more about the drink, dropping it is right despite the clear violation of school rules.
            I see this a different way and see the parents as the ones who knowingly sent their child to school with a drink in violation of a very serious school policy.

            October 15th, 2012 9:51 pm
    • DaveR

      You sure make a lot of assumptions about who said what. How you can ‘guarantee’ anything is presumptuous to say the least. Another student could easily have seen the label and decided to ‘go tell’ without the ‘guilty’ kid having to say or do anything. If you actually work in a school have you ever seen a kid grab something from another kid? No?

      Your statement that the kid “thought it was necessary to show his classmates that he was drinking alcohol” is pure speculation no matter how cock-sure you may appear.

      Now perhaps you could quote that school’s ‘protocol’ (that you seem to know so well) wherein it’s policy is to hold a kid all day for interrogation with police without calling a parent. Hmmm?

      October 14th, 2012 5:57 pm Reply
  • Blair

    If I were the parent I would file a lawsuit against the school district for illegally interrogating my child without me being present, falsely accusing my son of bringing alcohol onto the campus, defamation of my son’s character and last but not least, causing me and my son great emotional distress. They would rue the day they ever crossed paths with me!

    October 14th, 2012 5:19 pm Reply
  • Cara

    The parents should definitely pursue illegal harassment of their child … that should never be tolerated ! I read that even fruit juice that sits in a child’s lunch bag for a few hours has an alcohol content so their “no alcohol” policy is laughable.

    October 14th, 2012 5:12 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Minor in Possession of Tea is Suspended from Cali School; Interrogated By Police | Preppers Universe

  • Pingback: Minor in Possession of Tea is Suspended from Cali School; Interrogated By Police

  • paghat

    Such behavior in over-reacting adults should definitely be civilly punished because it is way too common and can be very damaging to children. I’d rather see individuals sued instead of schools, as that just takes funding away from other kids. Since crazy adults in charge of children think it appropriate to “threaten” kids with inappropriate attendance of programs regarding childhood alcoholism, perhaps the adults who molest the minds of children in these ways should have to attend like a five-day retraining program, which they have to pay for themselves, on how not to be threatening and monstrous toward children. And it should be on their permanent record whether or not the completed a program required of adults who have been inappropriate in any way with children.

    October 14th, 2012 3:37 pm Reply
  • robin

    interrogation sounds so much nicer when you call it a “discovery process” it sounds less intimidating.

    October 14th, 2012 3:27 pm Reply
  • Kathy

    A friend recently told me of your website. I am so glad to have found another community of like-minded individuals, who are interested in nourishing their families the healthiest way possible.

    October 14th, 2012 2:43 pm Reply
  • Rebekkah Smith

    Guess the school can’t have ripe bananas then either, since they have an alcohol content as well…

    October 14th, 2012 2:41 pm Reply
  • Susan

    The one year my boys were in school, I would send a mixture of K-tea and organic juice (I was working on getting them to like the stronger flavor). I never told the teacher. I put it in a Kleen Kanteen. I was not hiding anything. I just made it myself so did not have the bottle with the “label of alcohol” content (which is a joke…and done only to make the govt happy). The only problem is, if my boys did not finish it or bring it home, it would get a new scoby growing in it. I think the school’s reaction was from ignorance of what Kombucha is and was their knee jerk reaction. Hopefully they are educated now and will allow it. It is one of the many reasons I do not send my kids to Public school.

    October 14th, 2012 2:32 pm Reply
  • Cathy Raymond

    Also, I’m glad the schools system is responding to your article Sarah. Thank you for doing it, and I encourage others to work as hard on their blogs as you do, to have the reach and the power!

    Their treatment of the boy was pure BULLYING, which of course they are trying to stop in the schools. Little did they realize that they model that behavior.

    October 14th, 2012 2:17 pm Reply
  • Cathy Raymond

    That’s a Guiness glass. And does he look tipsy? :-)

    October 14th, 2012 2:14 pm Reply
  • a concerned mom

    Sarah, thank you for sharing this story. It’s unfortunate an elementary school child has to give so many adults an education in common sense, real food, and a bit of culture.

    October 14th, 2012 2:03 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      That’s why I blog because stories like this would never get covered in the LA Times. This stuff HAS to get out there. People don’t realize this sort if idiocy is going on and they need to be prepared if they are bucking the establishment line by eating REAL, Traditional foods as my family does and the mother of this boy in the Newport-Mesa school district.

      October 14th, 2012 3:39 pm Reply
  • Teri

    Wow thats the biggest rat story I ever heard! Doesn’t the label, by new law, have to saw possibly up to xxx% alcohol?

    This is a horrid thing!

    And the school was trying to use scare tactics on a little boy to get him to confess like he was some career criminal and even then its frowned upon! Are they serious?

    October 14th, 2012 1:15 pm Reply
  • DaveR

    “School Policy” is in place so school officials don’t have to think. Much easier for them that way. Doubtless they went through the public schools’ brain-draining system themselves.

    The absolute most that should have happened is they take the tea, call the parents and inform them that school policy forbids any alcohol in any form. I doubt the tea even had any and the label only says it does, just in case.

    That, of course, would require some brains.

    October 14th, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
    • BC

      Your comment seems a bit inflammatory. I agree the school is wrong! I help parents like this all the time. I make sure they are allowed to feed their kids what they want. This is what I’m talking about! You condemn the system that violates those rights and the persons that champions the parents cause?! But I’m hijacking this post? If my brain has been drained then why do so many home school parents, seek my assistance and those like me when the state over steps their authority. DCS has been called because parents took their kids out of school or because they believe in teaching creationism. Not to mention cases like the Kombucha case above. It happens more than you think. When you need help we’re OK? Yes, I feel obliged to help! So me and my public school education will continue to fight for you public-school-bashing idiots! But I don’t have to silently stand by while ingrates talk shit about a system that gave me the education and the sense of community that drives me to fight the good fight! Just because you have an opinion doesn’t make it a smart one!

      October 16th, 2012 2:16 pm Reply
  • Judith

    One big lesson we should take from this: Always remove the original labeling when you pack your child’s lunch! Sad that this would be necessary.

    October 14th, 2012 12:55 pm Reply
  • Bonnie

    This is adding insult to injury. First they railroaded the kid, and then they deny that it ever happened.

    It is time to go for the jugular now, as the school has clearly done to the kid. Someone needs to drag these scumbags into a court and law and let the public see how grossly the kid and the parents’ rights have been violated AND how egregiously that press release mischaracterized and misrepresented what has transpired.

    They cannot do what they did AND have the final say on what they did. It is high time to set the record straight and teach the perpetrators a lesson so hard they will never forget it. Otherwise you can bet your kombucha farm that something similar is going to happen again.

    October 14th, 2012 12:54 pm Reply
    • Rastafari

      Courts are corrupted. You will receive no help from courts. They are part of the corporation that runs this colony (united states). Courts, schools, police, politicians … all part of the corporation owned by the Virginia Company, which is owned by royal family.

      People must take care of their own business and not look to the corporation for help because its agenda is to cull population.

      See Agenda 21, Charlotte Iserbyt, John Taylor Gatto, Brian Gerrish.

      October 16th, 2013 2:20 pm Reply
  • Judith

    I think the school’s response was foolish because it’s not truthful; it makes them look like total liars. If they detained the kid all day, questioned him, made him sign a suspension notice (all without the parents?) then disciplinary action was taken and the kid was probably traumatized too. They should own up to exactly what they did, for starters, and then they should apologize for that without trying to deny any of it. Their lack of openness and honesty is just plain stupid.

    Of course they should have called the parents first, and the parents should have been there in the principal’s office if the kid was questioned. Browbeating a child because of what his parent put in his lunchbox is inappropriate and bullying.

    Finally, do these idiots understand math at all? Don’t they realize that there is no significant amount of alcohol in that Kombucha? They are supposed to be educators but they don’t seem to have thought about the arithmetic at all. An extreme over-reaction.

    October 14th, 2012 11:54 am Reply
    • Stephanie

      Judith, you make all the right points. Basically, you’ve said it all!

      October 14th, 2012 12:00 pm Reply
    • Rastafari

      While I agree with much of what you wrote, I disagree about “extreme over-reaction”. These teachers, administrators and police are “change agents.” (see Charlotte Iserbyt for 40+ years of whistleblowing research into schools).

      The job of these change agents is to target intelligent, well-adjusted (mostly) male children for drugs, humiliation and bullying. They are taking the best of the boys and trying to neuter them to avoid leadership coming from the ranks of the proletariat.

      Any sign of significant positive parenting (such as packing nutritious lunches instead of eating GMO slop served in schools) causes these change agents to step into high gear. You can see it over and over in the news. Story after story about schools abusing children like this.

      This is not an unusual story. It happens all over. It’s an agenda and it’s in effect. And if your children are in “schools” they are right in the line of fire.

      October 16th, 2013 2:16 pm Reply
  • Susan

    Sarah- So cool to see your article over on Alex Jones’ website!

    October 14th, 2012 11:29 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Thanks Susan :) It was a thrill to be the story behind one of his headlines for sure!!

      October 14th, 2012 3:41 pm Reply
      • Rastafari

        your article does not appear at infowars anymore. they are not allowing comments either. I’ve posted your article over there also asking why the article was removed.

        they don’t want this viral which is what will happen if it remains on infowars.

        thank you for posting this article.

        October 16th, 2013 4:25 pm Reply
  • L

    Does that mean that the hand sanitizer that schools use are also removed from campus because of alcohol content?

    October 14th, 2012 11:15 am Reply
    • Stephanie

      L – That is an excellent point! In my son’s elementary school, they are required to buy a bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in the classroom. I told my son I would not buy it and he was not allowed to use it in school. I know that the school would look at me like I was crazy if they knew my opinion on this, so I kept quiet about it. I told my son to tell his teacher to talk to me if she notices he is not using it or tells him to use it. He knows to refuse. He gets the whole “chemical thing” and also does not want to use it. It was a teachable moment to explain to him about beneficial bacteria as well. He is 7 and he understands it all. When things like this (the kombucha story) happen, (like pretty much everything in school nowadays) it is a good time to show the kids how messed up these institutions are. We are homeschoolers, but my son is in school temporarily (long, private story here). School – ha ha! What a joke it is. Even worse, it’s a prison and robot training program. Now, I can say that as an insider, not just a homeschooler. Take your kids out if you can. I am a single mother, working for myself, just scrapping by AND I buy expensive raw butter for my kid. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

      October 14th, 2012 11:49 am Reply
      • Stephanie

        By the way, I heard about a baby (or a toddler) who died after licking the hand sanitizer off of his or her hands. It’s all over the place in schools!

        October 14th, 2012 11:51 am Reply
    • D.

      Hand sanitizer isn’t an ingested commodity so it likely falls into a different category. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be allowed on school grounds, but I guess the fact that it contains alcohol was completely off their radar.

      October 14th, 2012 3:29 pm Reply
      • John C.

        Well, their press release says “Having a substance on campus containing any level of alcoholic content is a violation according to District policy” so that would mean hand sanitizers as well.

        October 14th, 2012 10:19 pm Reply
  • D.

    The first thing the school SHOULD have done was contact the parent(s), not the police officers (whether they were “already on the grounds” or not – that’s immaterial, highly). Parents should have been notified before another WORD was spoken to or in front of that child. Our entire gestapo based school system needs a good shake-down by the citizenry of each and every hamlet, town and city – the citizens, not some attorney. Do parents even know what “school policy” means? Do they get a copy every year of the school rules and regulations? I know we didn’t when my kids were in school, but then schools were for humans back then, not for little robots.

    I wonder if sending a pickle in a lunch box is legal? After all, it’s a fermented food and the educators at this institution don’t seem to understand the term. How sad. Who is teaching who here?

    October 14th, 2012 11:02 am Reply
  • Stephanie

    Sarah, kudos to you! Just keep it up! Keep on doing what you do – it is ALL GOOD. And thank you for speaking up on this family’s behalf.

    October 14th, 2012 10:59 am Reply
  • cw

    This is absolutely ridiculous did any one look this up and see what it was made of it is a herbal thing made of sea weed and mushroom some thing that is good for you. You can buy this from any health food store all ready made. Leave it to our government to take some thing so little so far. If I were the parents I would sue the hell out of the school board for this unjust act. Who knows pretty soon our kids schools will be like prisons it is sad where we are heading in this world today.

    October 14th, 2012 9:52 am Reply
  • Bruce Cambigue

    If they would check the ingredients on the orange juice they give or sell in the cafeteria they would discover that the selfsame orange contains….05% alcohol!

    October 14th, 2012 9:35 am Reply
    • Adam

      I just have to wonder if anyone did the math on the alcohol content.
      Coors Original = 5% alcohol. a single 12 oz can contains 0.6 oz alcohol
      divide 0.6 by 0.0005 = 1200 oz
      that is 150 cups or 9.375 gallons, or 75 lbs of the tea to equate to 1 can of beer.
      This cannot be a dangerous amount of alcohol. Heck there is alcohol in all kinds of everyday things like bread (rye, sourdough, pumpernickel) and fruit juices.
      Alcohol consumed at that rate is metabolized faster than it can have any effect.

      October 17th, 2012 4:34 am Reply
  • Eric

    The mental meals served up at public schools far worse than pink slime

    October 14th, 2012 9:01 am Reply
  • eggdescrambler

    How the heck do we end up having a “food police” in public schools!?!??!?!
    Just makes me feel like 1984 or Nazi Germany. Awful.

    October 14th, 2012 8:31 am Reply
  • Chef Jem

    Greetings Friends!

    I wish I had a couple hours to respond to everything presented on this ‘case’ as I believe it merits it. Firstly, I am really sorry that the child was confronted to the extent reported. It seems most all of us agree that the school was (at the very least” “unprepared” and possibly over zealous in attempting to follow their own policies. I think this incident deserves a people’s investigation. I wonder whether the school serves food. (Some schools do and some of those have been transformed via an upgraded lunch program). There are several things that I could suggest along the lines of working within this system.

    Aside from this one incident, I wonder how happy the mother is having her child in the school. Only she can say. My own personal response would be to remove the child and in a way that it would be a real positive graduation for him! The kombucha is just a “smidget” of possibly a whole lifestyle that is simply several steps beyond the consciousness of the government-controlled public school system. It’s the mother’s child and therefore it’s her choice but before i were to “commit”,myself down any particular course of action I’d want to know the truth of how she feels about having her child in this “institution”. I can’t imagine that she is really really happy about that Therefore my empathy extends to her as well.

    October 14th, 2012 5:01 am Reply
  • Meredith Reichmann

    not to condone the irrational behavior of the school district and the powers that be, it sounds like to me that this was more a case of teenagers idle mouths getting out of hand and the school officials being caught off guard.
    We “Real Foodies” are very familiar with what Kombucha Tea is and how it works. We are very comfortable throwing around the term “fermented” and we know what it means. But, the larger majority of the population just hears “fermentation” and sees an alcohol content label, and they think “moonshine”, not “healthy probiotic drink”. Just think of all of the shenanigans the government put all of those commercial kombucha companies through back in 2010 when they made them reformulate their brews so there wouldn’t be any “alcohol” in them and, if they didn’t reformulate they had to re-lable them and in some states they have to sell their Kombucha in the alcohol section of the store….it’s rediculous yes, but people are ill educated. Then add on top of that teenagers who gossip and blow things out of proportion and who knows what all else and you have yourself a recipe for disaster. Perhaps one day the world will see the truth about Real Food and people will get educated. Until then, we’re going to be misunderstood and probably put through a whole load of crap. The price we pay for truth… :(

    October 14th, 2012 1:18 am Reply
    • Meredith Reichmann

      Oh yeah, and by teenager, I meant elementary student (which one was it?)…either way…children and their mouths…

      October 14th, 2012 1:20 am Reply
  • MoT

    First of all I can’t begin to fathom why you would feel the need to place a glass container with Kombucha in the lunch box to begin with. Just transfer the beverage to something else and the nosy cops won’t be any the wiser. Of course their over reaction is ridiculous over such a trivial if not meaningless amount of alcohol. Don’t give them any excuses to make life more difficult than they already do for you. My wife is native Japanese and she can’t even imagine where in the world they get the idea there is any alcohol in there at all. It’s absurd.

    October 13th, 2012 11:39 pm Reply
    • IdahoSaanens

      It appears that it was store bought and not made at home as the article states “The issue resulted from the student being in possession of a beverage called, Kombucha, a tea, which states on its label that it contains 0.05 percent alcohol. The substance came to the attention of school officials through other students who reported that a student had alcohol.” The school district reacted to the word alcohol and didn’t bother to find out what Kombucha tea was.

      October 14th, 2012 12:11 pm Reply
      • Sukey

        There is another discrepency between the school statement and the original blog post. Which was it, another child noticing the alcohol content on the label or “the food police” noticing a glass bottle in the child’s lunch?

        October 14th, 2012 3:53 pm Reply
  • Bry Guy

    I find the older I get common sense isn’t so common.This reminds me time and again of the republicans,who can’t find a problem so they create one and then offer to fix it for a fee.

    October 13th, 2012 10:45 pm Reply
    • Rachel

      Sorry Bry Guy, but I have to add to your statement. The republicans AND the democrats. The two parties are one in the same, and neither one lives to serve the people, only themselves and their special interests.

      October 14th, 2012 11:32 am Reply
  • Davin

    Holding a Kid in a room for 6 hrs was the right thing to do for a bottle of vitamins… in a communist country we live in. Im surprised they didnt tazzer the kid?

    October 13th, 2012 10:21 pm Reply
    • f*** ya

      yup i agree i am suprised they didnt peppered sprayed him and tazed him ! lololol the nazis would be so proud to look at what this country has come too……..ohh wait THEY ARE!

      nuff said

      October 15th, 2012 4:14 am Reply
  • Pingback: Minor in Possession of Tea is Suspended from Cali School

  • Derek

    First off thefarnz the school should have contacted the parent for any and all discussions involving the child. Interrogating a child and detaining him, yes keeping him in an office while drilling him with personal questions is detaining, can not be done without a parent. Had a police department taken the child to their offices people would be in uproar and its okay because it was at a school? Public entities including the schools need to follow due process and drilling an elementary student is not proper and I’m sure they are fearing a law suit and that is why they are trying quickly to cover it up.

    School needs a hit in the pocket book or they won’t learn it’s not okay to do this.

    October 13th, 2012 9:00 pm Reply
    • watchmom3

      Derek, you nailed it! I would rest easy if you were watching the kids!

      October 14th, 2012 9:04 pm Reply
      • Derek

        Having 4 kids and degree in law enforcement can make me passionate over things like this. The school only messed up after detaining the child, not with the confiscation. Hopefully we are kept up on this story.

        October 14th, 2012 9:53 pm Reply
  • Ursula

    I expect that cough syrup has a much higher alcohol content, yet I have no doubt that the school nurse would have no qualms whatsoever spooning out that poison to children. Never mind handing out Ritalin like candy…. a mind altering drug.

    And even though the police was already there (which I think is terrible to begin with… but of course, schools are nothing but prisons for kids, anyway), they don’t ‘just show up’ in the office without being called by the principal. Meaning, yes, he called the police in.

    I believe the native Indians would say this principal is speaking with a ‘forked tongue’, as in being a sly snake.

    October 13th, 2012 8:37 pm Reply
    • Marylynn

      As someone who works in school, I just need to point out that we absolutely *cannot* spoon out cough syrup or pass out any medicine. Kids cannot even have Ibuprofen at school without a Dr.’s note. Even if the parent says it’s ok for the kid to have a cough drop, they can’t take it at school without a Doc’s note, and even then, they can only be taken in the nurse’s office. And we certainly can’t prescribe Ritalin. Ritalin is what happens when parents take their kids to a psychiatrist. Teachers and school nurses cannot even suggest to parents that a child be tested for ADHD; that is illegal.

      I understand your vituperous feelings about schools given this article, but contrary to popular belief, we cannot medicate children. That’s the parents’ decision.

      October 14th, 2012 5:54 pm Reply
      • MK

        “Teachers and school nurses cannot even suggest to parents that a child be tested for ADHD; that is illegal.”

        This has not been my experience at all. I have a nephew who goes to public school and it was suggested to his parents to have him tested. Also because he still occasionally has ‘accidents’ they made him see a psychiatrist, forced doctors visits repeatedly with the threat of involving DCF. You are right teachers and any other non-medical staff members cannot give meds outside of the nurses office but they aren’t powerless.

        October 14th, 2012 9:03 pm Reply
        • D.

          “Teachers and school nurses cannot even suggest to parents that a child be tested for ADHD; that is illegal.” That, my friend, is a load of bull. When our youngest son was in the third grade (back in the early 1990’s) the teacher disliked him. She told my husband and I to our faces that she disliked him because he was “too polite”. Honestly, that’s what she told us. We were astonished but never said a word to her about it after that initial visit – and then we only said “oh, well, uh, der, uh . . ” we couldn’t find words to express our concern for her mindless observation and for disliking him on that basis. Nevertheless, she twice recommended to the school administration that we have him taken to the MD doctor – once for what she called hyperactivity/ADHD (which our family doctor said was ridiculous) and then the second time for a diabetes check because she said he asked to go to the bathroom in the morning and in the afternoon every single day. Well, yes, he probably did – – – we encouraged all of our children to drink a lot of our home purified water and always sent water with them. Our family doctor checked, of course, and he wasn’t even borderline diabetic, so when he asked us what the impetus was for us to get him checked, we told him the teacher recommended it and told him the the rest of the story. He eventually called the school and I know he had words with someone because we weren’t bothered again and they practically fell over themselves to be “nice” to us.

          So, yes, teachers most certainly can and do suggest these things, and no it’s not illegal. I wish it were. More kids would be saved from the “psycho psychiatric system” in place in today’s modern world if this WERE illegal. Once a kid sees a psychiatrist, you know they’re going to put them on a pill – it’s what they DO. Most of those creatures are far more whacked out than the kids they see.

          October 14th, 2012 10:44 pm Reply
          • Chris

            When my sister was in Grade 1, her teacher told my mother at the first parent-teacher interview, that she wanted my sister to get a prescription for Ritalin, and BOASTED about how proud she was that she had already gotten 3 other 1st graders that year to go and get a prescription for it. At least where I’m from, i’ve never heard that it is illegal for teachers to recommend that. This teacher also told my mother that she couldn’t possibly take time to teach my sister how to read, because other kids in the class were already at a 3rd grade reading level, and how could she possibly take time away from their development. You’re paid to teach dang it, so teach all the kids and stop trying to hock prescription drugs already.

            October 22nd, 2012 11:19 am
    • fuck ya

      Thank you, at least someones said it! Its crazy, I graduated high school in 2006 and I am flabbergasted at what grade school has turned into! They have a psychologist (counselor) at every elementary school, middle school and so on……turning the schools into drug factories…….any kid that has a personality or has an imagination or doesnt want to be indoctrinated into the mind dumbing non education gets “diagnosed” with ADHD, ADD, or any of the other FAKE BULL**** MENTAL DISORDERS! And put them of Ritalin WHICH IS BASICALLY METH (THE CORE INGREDIENT IS AMPHETAMINES IN RITALIN AND METH) TO KIDS AS YOUNG AS 6, 7, 8 HOW DO YOU THINK THAT KIDS NOT EVEN DEVELOPED BRAIN IS GOING TO REACT TO THIS EXTREMELY POWERFUL DRUG? Or Adderall which is one element off of cocaine? They have been drugging our kids with these TOTALLY fictitious mental “diseases” ADHD, ADD and so on by putting psychologists aka counselors in schools and if a kid is being a kid they put them on some mind altering drug which totally wrecks havoc on the developing brain!


      October 15th, 2012 4:08 am Reply
      • Rachel

        School counselors are not psychologists. And psychologists do not prescribe medications. That’s the job of a psychiatrist (M.D.). School psychologists do testing to determine if accommodations need to be made for students in their classes or with testing. I know an elementary school counselor pretty well, since I’m married to him. He does a great job of giving the kids who have screwed up homes/lives a safe place to deal with their uncontrollable emotions when they can’t function in class or with others. Mostly they just play in the sand trays and get control of their emotions. He never recommends meds. Although he’s mentioned some teachers he’s not fond of who tend to do that, even though they’re not supposed to be doing it. When he’s asked he usually says they don’t know what they’re talking about 😉 He gets to deal with strung out parents or parents who party all night and can’t get their kids onto the buses in the morning. I send raw milk and water kefir to school with my boys. Oh, and they’re not vaccinated :) I’m not sure it’s fair to paint every school, teacher, or administrator with the same brush of control and subjugation.

        October 17th, 2012 12:11 am Reply
  • thefarnz

    It seems to me that the school did the right thing…in the end. Considering all the shenanigans that have occurred in our schools of late, being prudent and responsive is NOT a bad thing. In the end, they are committed to addressing these kinds of issues correctly. Now the question is…would they have been so quick to correct the issue if not for the healthyhomeeconomist??

    October 13th, 2012 6:28 pm Reply
    • MK

      I can’t understand how you can say the school did the write thing. Would your opinion be the same if your child was the topic of this article? I understand being prudent and cautious to ensure the safety of all the children in the school, but if everything that Sara describes happened to this child it was totally uncalled for, especially in the absence of the child’s parents. With an elementary aged child especially, calling the parents should have been the first action taken. It’s scary how accepting people are of situations like this. But that’s probably only until something similar happens to you or a loved one.

      October 13th, 2012 7:54 pm Reply
      • Marsaili

        She said right thing IN THE END. Please read thoroughly before you slam someone.

        October 16th, 2012 9:32 am Reply
    • Johnv

      You don’t shoot first and say you’re sorry after! Wake up ‘thefarnz’, you and your like, who always side with these Nazi arseholes, are the very reason they keep getting away with these over-reaching senseless actions!! ….and do not even try to play the “safety” card that all you morons try to use as an excuse to rape our rights!

      October 13th, 2012 9:51 pm Reply
      • Rastafari

        right on john

        October 16th, 2013 1:52 pm Reply
    • Marilyn

      The school did the RIGHT THING? How is their approach in ANY WAY “prudent”? They came on like the Gestapo, and terrorized this kid, for no good reason whatsoever. The only people who could defend this approach would be those who would do the same thing to another child. Hmmmm….

      October 14th, 2012 10:40 am Reply
      • Susan

        Not to attack thefarnz, here’s an idea of the intensity of what this family is going through – we endured a similar situation,in 9th grade, not long after Columbine, a school employee – I never knew who, found a note they considered threatening to another student, my son was wrongly accused because his locker location was near where it was found and they said he was the only one tall enough to put it there. He was removed from class, made to sit in the office until police arrived not knowing why, questioned intensely by a police investigator, hand writing analysis, everything he had at school was confiscated and searched, he was told all kinds of things would happen to him if he didn’t confess, profusely embarrassed in front of students and teachers- all of this before we were notified – he was not the same after this incident – it went on for weeks, police came to our house, and investigators harrassed me at work because I wouldn’t agree to the further investigation they wanted to do which included taking him to the station, fingerprinting, mugshot, etc – I was told this was the only way to clear him and it would always haunt him forever, even if he were stopped for a speeding ticket. (Not true, btw) I refused, even though he was willing if it would make them stop. I refused because there was no evidence, other than his height (kids never stand on things, jump or lift each other, right???) From what I saw, they were looking for a reason to charge him and I didn’t trust they would execute a fair investigation, it was clear, they had decided already he was guilty – it was a nightmare – prior, he was an excellent student with never a discipline problem at home, school or church. He finished school a year early, he’s a smart guy – but went from this happy, sweet, guy who loved school, to depressed, quiet, hated school, and self esteem issues, he couldn’t wait to graduate. That was 10 yrs ago – he’s beyond it now, but only this year has he come full circle. We didn’t know our rights – he was our 4th child and we’d never seen anything like this from school – The note wasn’t his – I saw it and knew right away – also the so called “threat” was so ridiculous, (I no longer remember it’s content) but couldn’t believe they took it as a threat anyway – and the boy who it was about was my son’s friend, said he knew it wasn’t from him, and didn’t even feel threatened by the note, never received it or knew of it until the police showed him. None of that mattered. The boys mother worked in the office and felt so bad for us – I told the school and police, if they had ANY evidence to charge him with ANY real crime, we would comply, otherwise, leave us alone. The boy’s parents were satisfied our son didn’t do this and felt no safety issues for their son at school. Our school didn’t suspend him either – no charges were ever filed, nothing ever surfaced that he did anything, other than go to school that day. So would you now say that school “did the right thing” ? Unfounded public humiliation is really hard for anyone, especially a child.

        October 14th, 2012 12:30 pm Reply
        • no

          You made the mistake of not filing a massive array of civil suits. District, school board, principal, vice principal, officers involved, police force, and so on. You will cost them lots and lots of money, and if you get anything to stick against anyone at the school; principal, vice principal, etc. You just ended their career. I would say that is at least the start of a decent punishment against a thug going around bullying your children like that.

          October 14th, 2012 6:06 pm Reply
          • pd

            I agree somewhat with “no”. It doesn’t really sound like the Vice Principal got they they screwed up. She needs not someone to tell her that she screwed up, but the space to come to her own realization of that. Asking her to sign a 5-day suspension might give her some breathing room to do that. I am all for compassion and understanding, but sometimes consequences are necessary. Or maybe whip her off to the police department where she is battered with questions, without legal counsel, like they do in movies…but I don’t know if that would really help the VP be in the child’s shoes or just throw gasoline on the fire. The emotional hurt could be healed with compassionate communication about what happened from each person’s perspective, how each person felt with the space to be heard, all this with a mediator.

            As an aside to the alcohol issue, what about fruit juice, is that not allowed in the school? Fruit juice can also have 0.1 – 0.3% ABV. I would either just rebottle the kombucha into a plastic or metal container and/or making your own kombucha.

            October 16th, 2012 7:06 pm
          • vinman

            all their money comes from taxes, this is why they do not care if they screw up.

            April 29th, 2013 4:00 pm
        • Princess

          Its your fault you didn’t sue. You should have contacted a lawyer immediately. Maybe your son, because of his age, might still have rights, but I doubt it. You;re just lucky your sons didn’t make a false confession, as occurred with a murder in CA.

          October 24th, 2012 2:44 am Reply
      • Marsaili

        GEEZ, did any of you read her post—she said right thing IN THE END—she wasn’t saying they did the right thing all along.

        October 16th, 2012 9:33 am Reply
        • Megan

          right thing in end. did you read that they say they didn’t do what they did do. that’s not right thing in the end. they owe the kid a public in school aploge so other kids know he didn’t do what they now think he did. his school years ahead could be riddled with bulling because of how the school handled it. they need to say we did you wrong you and your parents. we over stepped our bonds and it wont happen again to another kid!!

          October 16th, 2012 5:40 pm Reply
        • liv snow

          To the person who claims “they did the right thing at the end”: part of what they did at “the end” was to backspin so how could that possibly be considered the “right thing”? They handled it incorrectly all along and then LIED by saying the child “was not suspended” when the child SIGNED a 5-day suspension notice. A more accurate statement would have been “the suspension was revoked” or something like that. There are no excuses for the way these idiots handled this and to think anyone would try to defend ANYTHING they did is a complete joke and why we are in this mess of overreaching policies without regard for basic liberties.

          October 17th, 2012 8:17 am Reply
        • Mchael

          No, the right thing would be for the teachers and administrators to be looking for a new job.

          February 20th, 2013 8:18 am Reply
    • IdahoSaanens

      If I read your comment correctly, you feel that the first day was handled badly? However, they took the proper steps only after hearing the Healthy Home Economist did a blog about the incident? You might want to consider reading what you wrote and rewrite what you said. In actuality, it sounds like you are condoning what the school district did overall.

      First off, there is no age listed for the child….who could be in K thru 8. Children in elementary school will do whatever anyone in authority tells them to do. Did that child REALLY understand what he signed? The first thing the school district should have done is called a parent or designated person to deal with what’s going on. Even tho the SRO was at the school already, he should never have been called in.

      What the teachers SHOULD have done was looked up the definition of Kombucha tea and learned what it was. But no, they jumped their reactionary gun because they saw the word “alcohol”. There was nothing in this story handled correctly and I see back-pedalling at it’s finest.

      October 14th, 2012 12:04 pm Reply
      • Michael

        That only works if you assume that the teachers are intelligent enough to a) look it up and b) to understand what they read. From the information in the article I doubt that is the case.

        February 20th, 2013 8:21 am Reply
    • Bailey

      I agree with thefarnz. The school botched things pretty severely in the beginning, but I feel like they were committed to making it right in the end. I’m also encouraged to read how they are planning to review/revise their procedures for future incidents and take a more nurturing approach. It’s sad that the world we live in make it necessary, but it’s important that schools take a perceived threat seriously. Also, I have to wonder if maybe the kid said something to his friends about having alcohol in his lunch. How else would the kids who told on him or the staff know what kombucha even is, let alone that it contains a miniscule amount of alcohol?

      October 14th, 2012 1:18 pm Reply
      • DaveR

        How could some other kid have known? How about the other kid asks what he’s drinking and the kid hands over the bottle? Farfetched I know…

        Like I said below. The most they should have done is take the tea and call the parents.

        October 14th, 2012 1:30 pm Reply
      • no

        Dude, they didn’t make it right in the end. The student victim here has received zero compensation for his suffering, and the guilty parties at the school have received no punishment. Fire every administration actor involved in the incident and pay the victim’s family $100,000. Now the next time someone at the school wants to act like an ass they know that that if they screw up that a.) they will lose their job and b.) there will be a financial incentive for the victim to push for said punishment.

        October 14th, 2012 6:08 pm Reply
        • Megan

          well said no

          October 16th, 2012 5:44 pm Reply
      • watchmom3

        While I do see that they backpeddled when they saw their error, you absolutely can NOT tolerate people who have your children “captive” to shoot first and ask questions later. What in the world were they thinking? Call the parents and ASK what Kombucha is, if you don’t know! Not asking them to keep up with every possible thing that people choose to eat and drink, just take the responsibility of “first do no harm” for our kids! Err on their side, as that is what anyone should do for another human being…especially a child.

        October 14th, 2012 9:03 pm Reply
        • jill

          I can also see the schools concern and think I am the only one seeing it this way. School staff read that his beverage contained alcohol. (Albeit a very small amount) They have a zero tolerance policy in place. Zero tolerance means just that. They were possibly looking to question the child w/o parents to see if they gave him alcohol more regularly. I see it as a questioning to see if they needed to call Child Protective Services before calling in the parents. They obviously later learned more about the beverage but the family still violated the zero tolerance policy. If you ‘kind of’ break zero tolerance sporadically on bullying, is that OK as well? Having him sign a suspension form w/o his parents was not right but not quite law suit worthy. I am appalled at the “law suit” posts. SAD!

          October 15th, 2012 9:42 pm Reply
          • Melissa

            I agree whole heartedly! They saw alcohol on the bottle! The mother would have had 0 issues if she had simply put the kombucha in a different glass container. She also states on the original post (a link from the first Healthy Home Economist post) that her son was telling others about the drink and reading the ingredients. He is of middle school age from what I read. What middle schooler do you know would hear the word alcohol in a drink and not tell someone else? The school has a 0 tolerance policy and quite possibly thought they would have to call CPS. The safely of the child was thought of as well as the fact that the bottle says alcohol. I can se why they flipped out. Was it extreme? Possibly. However, I do not think anyone should sue. They’d lose the case as soon as the defense lawyer said the bottle label said ‘alcohol’. Case closed.

            October 16th, 2012 10:31 pm
          • DaveR

            ” Case closed.” Hahaha. So now you’re an attorney? It might *just* have something to do with the grounds for the suit. Perhaps the suit would be filed regarding the being held incommunicado and threatened? Methinks yes. I wonder what the bottle said. I doubt it said that it does contain, but probably more likely “may contain…”. Yes that’s the crux of the stupid administration at the school. the label mentioned alcohol. At that point all thinking ended and they see everyone patting their little heads and saying “good boy”. At that point they saw the school board giving them praises and raises, lauding them for being so diligent to “protect young minds” from the evil of actual thought. Lead by example, I say. The education system today isn’t about teaching people to use their brains and think their way through issues, it’s about conformity and obedience, and that is what is on display in this case, in spades.

            I love the commenter hereabouts who capitalizes ZERO at every post, like we’re all too stupid to know what ZERO means, or that we miss it somehow. See me? I can capitalize ZERO, because it’s a ZERO tolerance policy. See ZERO and that means ZERO in case you don’t get it! ZERO tolerance = ZERO thought.

            October 16th, 2012 10:46 pm
      • liv snow

        They LIED about how it was handled – yeah, that’s acceptable – NOT!

        October 17th, 2012 8:19 am Reply
  • Andy

    Back pedaling at its finest. Great work exposing the school!

    October 13th, 2012 5:37 pm Reply
    • pd

      If you want to voice your concern to the school authorities:

      Newport Mesa Unified School District Board of Education
      President: David L. Brooks

      Dr. Frederick Navarro
      Office: (714) 424-5031

      Laura Boss
      Director of District Communications
      Office: 714-424-5070

      October 16th, 2012 7:45 pm Reply
      • Princess

        Of course they should sue and I am sure they will. The only reason the school back-peddled and spinned so vigorously is (for those of you out of the area) this is a very affluent area and I am sure the family already has an attorney on retainer. The child was treated abusively; this was more than an investigation. This school and other schools have no policy in place regarding investigation of incidents to prevent abuse of children. The child was held against his will for several hours. He was threatened with being removed from his school and being sent to an alcohol treatment facility. He was interrogated by a police officer and asked questions that are protected by privacy legislation. When my kids were younger I told them if there was every an problem they were to call me, and if they were told they couldn’t call their parent, they were to do it anyway. If an official would attempt to remove a cell phone from a child’s hand, that is criminal assault. The family should also contact CPS, as these school officials and staff should not be permitted to be around children. If they are going to abuse one child, they will abuse another.

        October 24th, 2012 7:42 pm Reply
        • Rastafari

          You might consider the suggestion about calling the CPS. You’re well-researched, but this looks like a gap that needs to be filled. Pls check Brian Gerrish in the UK (UK Column) who is a former Royal Navy LT Commander and now blowing the whistle on CPS in UK which is same in US.

          “child stealing by the state” by Brian Gerrish. He’s on YT and the UK Column site.

          October 16th, 2013 1:50 pm Reply

Leave a Comment