Parent upset about letter from school saying he is punished for his adult son's actions

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — One Hernando County father says that he shouldn’t have to be punished for something his adult son did at school. 

Phillip Merrill says he already knew that his 18-year-old son was caught with a vaping device on Springstead High School grounds.

"We’ve told him that he can’t smoke that in the house or around his little sister but I can’t control what he does at 18," said Merrill.  

Merrill says his son already did two days of in-school suspension, but the letter says his son must attend a substance abuse class and so must the parents.

"I had to re-read it, I was in shock. I was like, wait a minute, this says I have to go somewhere," said Merrill.  

Merrill says he doesn’t think the school district has the right to punish parents.

"If those are the rules and regulations we’ll tell him to abide by them but we certainly haven’t signed any agreements saying we have to take classes," said Merrill.  

The code of ethics does mention in violation of policy students have to take a tobacco abuse program but does not mention anything about parents also taking the program. 

We reached out to the school district for comment on why parents are also mandated to take the class. 

They gave us a statement saying in part:

"Since 1990, School Board policy has used language requiring parents to attend. Since the policy was updated the requirement is no long in the policy and parents do not have to attend. The letter had not been updated to reflect the new policy."

As for Merrill, he says he’s happy to not have to attend the class but still frustrated with the situation.

"I hope the school board gets the message that we need to fix something in here," said Merrill. 

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