The Henry County Board of Education reversed its original decision to suspend a sixth-grade student after he unintentionally used a counterfeit bill to pay for lunch, clearing his record of the incident.
Christian Philon, a 12-year-old student at McDonough’s Austin Road Middle School, was previously suspended for 10 days after the Jan. 10 incident, Channel 2 Action News reported.
After Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis decided there was no intent on the student’s part to present counterfeit money, allowing him to go back to class, a hearing officer upheld the student’s punishment, meaning the incident stayed on his record.
On Wednesday afternoon, the board of education said, “At this time, we have decided to reverse the decision of the hearing officer,” Channel 2 reported.
Philon’s attorney, Keisha Coleman, told AJC.com his family is relieved, but they wish they had received a verbal apology.
“I think Christian and his family would’ve appreciated an apology for dragging them through this whole mess, which was not forthcoming,” Coleman said. “But I think they’re happy that his name is cleared and his record is cleared.”
However, Coleman said she hopes the school district’s policy on counterfeit money is amended, since the no-tolerance policy applies to children as young as kindergarten.
“Hopefully they’ll do something to change that ... so no other kid has to go through this,” she said.
The student’s father, Earvin Philon, previously told Channel 2 he gave his son a $20 bill that he received in change from a fast-food restaurant and didn’t know it was counterfeit.
Christian, a straight-A student and athlete, said he learned the money was fake when the cashier marked the bill with a counterfeit pen.
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