Georgia honor roll student won’t be suspended for accidentally using fake money to pay for lunch

Christian Philon says he was suspended for using money he didn’t know what fake to pay for school lunch. (WSB-TV)

Christian Philon, an honor roll student at a Georgia middle school, won’t be suspended after all for accidentally paying for his school lunch with a counterfeit bill.

The Henry County Board of Education Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis decided against the decision to have the sixth grader serve his suspension despite a hearing officer’s choice to uphold the student’s punishment which would have remained on his school record, The AJC reports.

On Wednesday, the Board of Education said, “At this time, we have decided to reverse the decision of the hearing officer,” Channel 2 reported.

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Keisha Coleman, Philon’s attorney, said while the family is happy with the reversal, they want a verbal apology for the hassle.

“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.”

Christian was handed down a 10-day suspension because the school claims the $20 bill he used to pay for lunch was fake. The lunch lady used a pen that detects counterfeit bills to determine that it wasn’t real.

His parents were outraged and said they didn’t know the bill was bogus and fought the 12-year-old’s suspension earlier this month.

“I was confused on how the money was counterfeit. And how my parents received it,” Christian said previously

Still, Christian said even when he explained that he didn’t know that the bill was fake, school officials penalized him.

“They said, ‘You possessed it, so you’re going to have to pay for it,’” Christian said.

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“I’ve never handled counterfeit money. I don’t know what it looks like,” father Earvin Philon said.

Philon said he was given the bill when he paid for his meal at a fast-food restaurant.

The parents filed a police report to report the fake cash, but Christian still was told he would have to serve the penalty because he violated the code of conduct, a disciplinary panel had decided.

That is until the Henry County Board of Education stepped in.

Now Coleman’s mother hopes the school district will change the policy on counterfeit money especially since it applies to kids as young as kindergarten.

“Hopefully they’ll do something to change that … so no other kid has to go through this,” she said.