RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — An Independence High School student returns to the classroom after classmates staged a two-day walkout.
Nathan Rhodes, a junior at Independence High, was diagnosed with cancer his freshman year, according to his family.
His family said on Thursday, March 16, 2023, that school administrators told Rhodes earlier this year he could not study on campus, reportedly as discipline for bringing a marijuana vaporizer to school.
His family said the vaporizer helped with his symptoms.
Recently, doctors told Nathan the cancer is terminal and that his time is limited.
School administrators allowed him to return to the campus to be with friends for a short time, then allegedly ordered him last week to again study from home, according to classmates. His classmates staged a walk-out Thursday and Friday, March 17, 2023, in protest.
Some classmates reported Nathan was expelled, but school administrators cannot expel a student, according to Raleigh County Schools policy. The board of education must vote on expulsions.
Raleigh County Schools Superintendent David Price declined to comment on whether Nathan was expelled or placed on virtual alternative homeschool but said on Monday that Nathan was permitted to return to school.
“After meeting this morning, we felt it was the right thing to do,” he said.
Price criticized those who made personal attacks against the school principal on Facebook.
“The principal has been unfairly ridiculed,” he said. “There has been a lot of information and comments on social media that are just cruel and unfair. It’s a shame people go there, without knowing all the facts.”
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources issues medical marijuana cards, which allows patients to legally purchase marijuana, to the caregivers or guardians of those who are under 18 years old, according to the WVDHHR Office of Medical Cannabis.