Peddler’s Boutique closes Mother’s DayAfter 18 years in downtown Arcadia, Pam Ames and Linda Williams will close their business. Peddler’s Boutique had started as Basket Peddler, transitioned to a women’s fashion shop about 10 years ago, said Ames, who is Williams’s daughter and business associate. The pair started with gift baskets, assembling more 100 their first week, said Ames, who is also president of the Arcadia Main Street Project, a downtown booster group. Along with other clothing, footwear and fashion lines, Peddler’s Boutique was noted for its Vera Bradley and Brighton collections. The shop closes on Mother’s Day, May 12. Most items are discounted during the countdown.

“We’re on to bigger and better things … just don’t know what that’s going to be,” Ames said.

Court reverses expulsion, parent ‘not vindicated’A state appeals court has overturned a DeSoto schools expulsion of a student who admitted eating a brownie laced with marijuana, off-campus, according to several reports and to the mother of the child.

Shasta Mott learned last week that a Florida panel determined that consuming the brownie was not covered by the DeSoto school board’s “zero tolerance” drug policy. Mott appealed to the Florida Second District Court of Appeal after her daughter was expelled from DeSoto Middle School, and ultimately from the district in November 2017. She submitted a 50-page appeal, citing the girl’s clean discipline record and other factors, including that the family reported the brownie incident to the district, Mott said. A four-page ruling reversing the decision to expel the girl, 13 at the time, was written by Judge Darryl Casanueva and joined by judges Patricia Kelly and J. Andrew Atkinson.

“The zero-tolerance policy set out in the code of conduct does not support the board’s position,” according to the finding, noting that school drug offenses cover the sale, distribution, possession, receipt, or delivery of illegal drugs.

Mott, who had taught in DeSoto schools, alleged the girl’s expulsion was payback for her reporting a series of sexual harassment incidents involving middle school girls and boys. Mott resigned her teaching position in early 2018, partly due to the expulsion, she said.

“Do I feel vindicated,” she asked. “No … I am still devastated. And now I have what I need to sue (them).”

The district noted that legal counsel is reviewing the ruling and legal options.

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