"Shona Banda, a Garden City mom who faces five charges related to marijuana use, appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday.
Those charges came after her 11-year-old son made comments about Banda using pot during an anti-drug program in his fifth-grade class at Bernadine Sitts School.
Eleven days after the incident, Garden City police and the Department for Children and Families questioned Banda’s son at school and raided Banda’s home in Garden City. Authorities took her son away and put him in protective state custody.
Richard Levy, University of Kansas J.B. Smith distinguished professor of constitutional law, said he would be interested in the state’s evidence against Banda in its custody case.
'I think it would be somewhat excessive to say all parents who use marijuana should lose custody of their children,' Levy said.
He said that under the due process clause, parents have a fundamental right to the custody and care of their children. That means the state would need especially strong justification for denying Banda custody of her son."