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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:



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

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