Mother, grandparents sue Raleigh County school board for interference

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 17, 2019

BECKLEY — The mother and grandparents of a Raleigh County child are suing the Raleigh County Board of Education after they claim the school interfered with their home lives and caused stress for the child.

Stanaford Elementary School and the school counselor, Jennifer Law, were also named as defendants in the suit.

William C.Brewster, Donna L. Brewster and Ashley D. Brewster filed the lawsuit in Raleigh Circuit Court. 

On Feb. 21, Ashley Brewster put her son, Rayland L., on the school bus. Rayland L.'s brother, Jermiah Z., went to school that day as well.

While Rayland was in class, he went to his teacher's desk for help with an assignment when his teacher asked him why he smelled like marijuana and asked if anyone in his home smoked marijuana.

Rayland said he did not know and then he stood there wondering if his grandparents and mother "did drugs," according to the suit.

The teacher then took Rayland to the principal's office to speak with the counselor and she returned to her classroom. 

Law spoke with Rayland for approximately 45 minutes, according to the suit.

"We contend Ms. Law kept Rayland in the room until she had enough information to call Child Protective Services and make claims to CPS that all three petitioners were possessing and using marijuana in their residence," the complaint states. "She requested a search of our home."

Approximately one hour after Rayland and Jermiah returned from school, two Child Protective Services (CPS) workers arrived at the Brewster residence and were escorted by Raleigh County Sheriff's deputies, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim CPS talked to Ashley Brewster and checked both boys for abuse and/or physical neglect, but the Brewsters refused to let them into their home and they left after approximately 45 minutes.

After the CPS workers left, the plaintiffs were discussing why they had come and Rayland began crying and apologized and said he had told the counselor that the plaintiffs had marijuana, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim William Brewster asked why Rayland would tell the school such a lie and that Rayland said he had gotten scared and that the counselor had kept saying he had marijuana on his clothes. The plaintiffs claim they soothed Rayland and told him everything would be alright and not to worry about it anymore.

The following day, the plaintiffs kept the boys home from school because they had doctors' appointments and because if CPS workers were going to come for the boys, they wanted them to take the boys from them and not the school.

The following Monday, Rayland returned to school with a doctor's excuse and his teacher asked him how everything was going and told him she was worried about him since he was not there on Friday, according to the suit. The next school day, Feb. 26, while Rayland was walking to Good News Bible Study, Law questioned him on how the meeting with CPS had been and he ignored her.

The plaintiffs claim on Feb. 27, CPS workers went to the school to conduct interviews on a different matter involving Jermiah and interviewed Rayland and during that interview, he recanted his previous statements he had given to Law about marijuana and explained why he had lied.

On Feb. 28, Law brought Rayland to her office and questioned him about the CPS interview and asked him why he said he had lied to her. Later that morning, the Brewsters arrived at the school to speak with the principal and Law about the issues and waited for one hour. The Brewsters claim they offered to share any information with the school and Law about their lifestyles, habits and medical issues.

"Indeed, both decline and stated that they had not asked any questions about us," the complaint states.

William Brewster then told the defendants this was their only chance to ask questions and if they didn't, the plaintiffs did not expect to hear that Rayland was questioned anymore. William Brewster claims he told Law that they send Rayland to school for an education and not interrogation.

The plaintiffs claim when Rayland came home from school that afternoon, he informed his mother and grandparents that Law questioned him again.

The plaintiffs are seeking for the court to look at the situation and "form an opinion as to whether the respondents have any legal right and/or any other right to keep making inquiries to an eight (8) year old third grader," according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are representing themselves.

Raleigh Circuit Court Case number: 19-C-94

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