1996 | Donna Cockrel investigated after Harrelson hemp presentation

Updated: Jan 19, 2019


Not everyone celebrated Woody Harrelson's arrival and activism throughout the state after he visited Donna Cockrel's fifth grade class and planted hemp seeds in Lee County. Shelby County deputy sheriff, Audrey Yeager, claimed Woody Harrelson's presentation earlier that month had contradicted her anti-drug message to students. Ironically enough, Yeager had been scheduled to hand out trophies and certificates to students graduating from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education ("D.A.R.E.") program offered that very same day.

Apparently, students wearing D.A.R.E. t-shirts took photos with Woody. Thesheriff claimed the images upset her, not only because the actor was promoting hemp, but because he was arrested two days later for cultivating hemp seeds in Kentucky. "I feel like erything I taught has been blown up in face," she said, mentioning calls she has received from the state D.A.R.E. officials, who were contacted by the national D.A.R.E. program concerning Harrelson's photo that appeared on TV and in daily newspapers.

It appeared that Deputy Sheriff Yeager wasn't the only one upset about his hemp presentation. Parents and teachers wrote numerous letters to members of the Shelby County School District voicing concern regarding Woody's industrial hemp presentation. Cockrel was notified a couple weeks later she was being investigated by her school board because of complaints that followed the visit.

Shelby County school officials even asked the state board to consider revoking Donna Cockrel's teaching certification for allowing hemp seeds to be passed around a classroom. See article from the July 1, 1996 Daily News below for more details.



Click the links below to learn more about the Harrelson and Cockrel trials:

1996 | Woody Harrelson speaks at Simpsonville Elementary

1996 | Woody Harrelson arrested for planting hemp in Kentucky

1996 | Donna Cockrel investigated after Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1996 | Kentucky Hemp Museum & Library launches mobile exhibit

1996 | Woody Harrelson launches hemp essay contest

1996 | School trys to revoke Donna Cockrel's teaching certificate

1996 | Woody Harrelson defends Donna Cockrel

1996 | Woody Harrelson announces hemp essay winners

1996 | Charges dismissed against Woody Harrelson for Kentucky hemp planting

1997 | Kentucky Hemp Museum takes Harrelson, Cockrel and essay winner to movie premiere

1997 | Parents protest against Woody Harrelson's scheduled second visit

1997 | Court finds statute "overbroad" after Harrelson charges are dismissed

1997 | Woody Harrelson makes second visit to Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Parents want Donna Cockrel fired after second Woody Harrelson hemp presentation

1997 | School Evaluation Claims Donna Cockrel Fails to Meet Performance Requirements

1997 | Kentucky General Assembly Hears Testimony On Hemp

1997 | Donna Cockrel is fired from Simpsonville Elementary

1997 | Woody Harrelson issues statement regarding Donna Cockrel's termination

1998 | Cockrel files suit against Shelby County schools

1998 | Farmers sue to overturn ban on hemp

2000 | Kentucky Supreme Court rules no distinction between hemp and marijuana

2000 | Woody Harrelson acquitted of hemp charges

2001 | Court reverses decision in Donna Cockrel vs. Shelby County schools

2003 | Donna Cockrel receives $70,000 settlement


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Sources

July 1,1996, Daily News "Board Investigates Teachers who let Harrelson speak to class about hemp"

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