School board clears student who unwittingly had fake money

MCDONOUGH, Ga. - A Georgia school board cleared a 12-year-old boy's record Wednesday after he tried to buy lunch with a counterfeit $20 bill that he didn't know was fake.

An attorney representing the student's family said the Henry County Board of Education reversed a hearing officer's decision to extend a five-day suspension by two more days. The student's record also was cleared.

Keisha Coleman, of the law firm McGuireWoods, said the family is glad the matter has been put to rest.

Christian Philon and his parents said the child had been unwittingly given the bogus bill by his father, who received it as change from a fast-food restaurant. They said the boy and his father both believed the money was real.

"It's been removed from his record and appears as if nothing ever happened," Coleman said. "It's over."

Still, Coleman said she was disappointed that the board didn't speak to their concerns about the board's zero-tolerance policy for possession of counterfeit money — even for students as young as 5 years old.

"We're hopeful that they will consider rewriting that policy," she said.


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