13 yr old 8th grader uses $2 bill – school freaks out, police called, threats and ignorance ensue

From time to time we hear about the idiocies that public schools perpetrate.

Here’s another which caught my eye in the wake of controversy about changing the $10 or $20 bills.

From Joe For America:


When 13-year-old eighth grader, Danesiah Neal, tried to spend a 2 Dollar Bill at lunch at Christa McAuliffe Middle School, she was detained and threatened with a felony!

It gets worse! The 2 Dollar Bill investigation had to go all the way to the bank to get solved!

I am beyond disbelief at the STUPIDITY at this Texas school, and with the Fort Bend police who carried on with the blatant ignorance that had to be involved! (Besides the fact that it was only $2)

“I went to the lunch line and they said my 2 Dollar Bill was fake,” Danesiah told Ted Oberg Investigates. “They gave it to the police. Then they sent me to the police office. A police officer said I could be in big trouble.”

Not just big trouble. Third-degree felony trouble.

School officials called Daneisha’s grandmother, Sharon Kay Joseph.

“She’s never in trouble, so I was nervous going in there,” she recalled to ABC13.

The officials asked, “‘Did you give Danesiah a 2 Dollar Bill for lunch?’ He told me it was fake,” she said.

Then the Fort Bend ISD police investigated the 2 Dollar Bill with the vigor of an episode of Dragnet, even though at that school 82-percent of kids are poor enough to get free or reduced price lunch.

The alleged theft of $2 worth of chicken tenders led a campus officer — average salary $45,000 a year — to the convenience store that gave grandma the 2 Dollar Bill.  [Didn’t the Obama administration outlaw food that was appetizing?]

Next stop — and these are just the facts — the cop went to a bank to examine the 2 Dollar Bill.


Really?  I’m surprised they didn’t call the Secret Service.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. wmeyer says:

    How far we have fallen.

  2. The Masked Chicken says:

    I what sense did they think it was a fake? Had that person even seen a 2 dollar bill, before? A 2 dollar bill is still legal tender in the U. S. The burden of proof lies with the accuser. They should sue the school for $20,000 (10,000 times the face value) and the police for $40,000 (they should have known better) for the pain and suffering. No one counterfeits 2 dollar bills.

    The harmed party should, of course, forgive all parties involved, but that does not preclude medicinal remedies and correction (monetarily, even) if it is prudent and given that police were involved, I think it is.

    [Give that $2 bills are legal tenders and that chicken tenders, would currency in the Coop be chicken tenders?]
    The Chicken

  3. Supertradmum says:

    All civilizations which fall into ignorance owing to either sloth or the lack of a common philosophy which would underline education, such as Classical Ed, are bound to fail. So history teaches us…

  4. Jon says:

    I’d suit for a million in damages, to be paid in 2 dollar bills.

    [Or 2 Million in $1?]

  5. David in T.O. says:

    Now, if it were a $3.00 bill, I think that would be a little queer.

  6. Frank H says:

    Good grief! Can you imagine if she’s tried to use a couple of gold colored dollar coins?

  7. kiwiinamerica says:

    Is that Bernie Sanders’ image on the note?

  8. TC says:

    So why couldn’t they have taken the bill to the bank first & then arrested her later if it was fake?

  9. Christopher Meier says:

    Watch the fun and frivolity when, next week, Daneisha tries to buy her lunch with two Susan B. Anthony dollar coins or four Kennedy half dollars.

  10. Rob in Maine says:

    Growing up in Southern Maine, I lived in the town next to Old Orchard Beach – a popular vacation spot for Quebecoise. Needless to say, Canadian coins were not uncommon in the local economy; we all had them, we all used them.
    One year while visiting Washington DC during college break I was paying for a meal (I think it was at a McDonalds) and the cashier refused to make my nickel as it was _foreign_ money!

  11. I have quite a few $2.oo bills. What happened to this child is ridiculous. Yes, take the bill to the bank first, or have the faculty look up the bill on Wikipedia, lol.

  12. pseudomodo says:

    I once visited Philadelphia (the city where brothers love one another or something…) and a brought some American Express travelers cheques in American Funds (because I was a traveler travelling to America…) and tried to buy something but was refused because the American Express Travelers Cheques (in American funds mind you) was drawn at a Canadian Bank!!

    But seriously folks, cut them some slack! After all this happened in Texas! :-)

  13. Hidden One says:

    At least she didn’t try to pay with a twoonie.

  14. APX says:

    The alleged theft of $2 worth of chicken tenders [Wait… I think that a $2 is still a… wait for it… legal tender.]

    The alleged theft of $2 worth of alleged chicken tenders

    Fixed that for you. School cafeterias should be charged for serving counterfeit food.

    Anyone can refuse to accept tender. Good luck finding a store that will accept an old $100 or $50 CAD bill since they’ve been counterfeited so many times.

    This does seem beyond ridiculous. I can’t believe it was handled so poorly.

    We get all kinds of foreign currency in our change that we can’t cash in at the bank. I felt bad for the guy who mistook his silver American dollar for a quarter, which was worth six of our quarters at the time.

  15. “But seriously folks, cut them some slack! After all this happened in Texas! :-)”

    I am in Texas. ;)

  16. iepuras says:

    There is a metal recycling company in the Houston (Fort Bend County is in the greater Houston area) that advertises heavily on the radio. This company emphasizes that they they not only pay cash for scrap metal but that they “even pay in $2 bills!” Sounds like grandma took her aluminum cans to the metal recycler, and she was nice enough to use that money to pay for her granddaughter’s school lunches.

  17. Patti Day says:

    In Virginia two dollar bills are not uncommon since Montecello, the home of President Thomas Jefferson, is located here. It used to be $18 for a day pass for adults to tour the house. If you paid with a $20 bill, they’d give you a two dollar bill with Jefferson’s picture as change. People were always asking if it was real and if they could actually spend it. Probably a lot of the bills remain in the wallets of visitors.

  18. jhayes says:

    It turns out that the problem wasn’t that it was a $2 bill but that that particular $2 bill was so old that it was flagged as counterfeit when the cashier tested it with a counterfeit-detecting pen.

    Next stop — and these are just the facts — the cop went to a bank to examine the bill.

    Finally, the mystery was solved: The $2 bill wasn’t a fake at all. It was real.

    The bill so old, dating back to 1953, the school’s counterfeit pen didn’t work on it.

    “He brought me my two dollar bill back,” Joseph said. He didn’t apologize. He should have and the school should have because they pulled Danesiah out of lunch and she didn’t eat lunch that day because they took her money.


    But even if the bill had been counterfeit, it seems outrageous if they treated her as someone who was trying to pass counterfeit money rather than simply an innocent victim of someone who had passed it to her

  19. DetJohn says:

    The young girl did nothing wrong… I have run across this situation before

    Maybe it was that the Bill has a red seal as shown in the photo ……… the current one has a green seal. It is really odd to see one of these in common circulation…. If the red seal $2 bill, seldom seen, was given as change from a Convenience Store it was more than likely stolen from someone’s collection during a burglary.

    Unless there is some missing information, it seems to me that the School and the Local Police are ignorant of the $2 bill….

    The Police Department should be checking their files and those of surrounding agencies for thefts of older money…… they should be talking to the clerk at the store who took in the $2 bill… not a common thing.

    Oddball thing have led to some big arrests…

  20. cda_sister says:

    I am mortified to see this on Fr Z’s blog. I live in Ft Bend County, Sugar Land to be exact. And this young girl is not the only child being pursued. A young man at one of the high schools (an A & B student, never in any trouble whatsoever) was headed to lunch a week or so ago and spotted a $10 bill on the floor in the hall. He picked it up and continued on to lunch. Ahhh….yes, the poor young man decided to pay for his lunch, a ham sandwich and bag of chips, with this $10 bill. (I realize he should have taken the money to the office since it was not his but I digress). He was arrested and is being charged with the felony. He was to appear in court sometime last week, I believe, but I have not seen any updates. His father was still trying to find a lawyer. I am disgusted with the entire bunch. Like we don’t have enough serious crime going on, so the authorities have to go after these kids like they were Hillary Clinton or Al Sharpton or ….oops….I forgot, these guys are “innocent”. I am not for frivolous law suits but if I were the parent or grandparent of these kids, I would seriously be seeking some restitution of some sort.

  21. Titus says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t call the Secret Service.

    That might actually have been the easiest way of resolving the matter: their primary brief is combating counterfeiting. The telephone operator at the 800 number probably could have answered the question, “hey, is there such a thing as a $2 bill?”

  22. WmHesch says:

    Interestingly pictured is the pre-Vatican II $2 bill… whose red Treasury seal inscription was Latin!!

  23. Cafea Fruor says:

    How ridiculous. If these adults involved had never heard of a $2 bill, then they’ve been living under a rock.

    I used to work for a guy who never used the ATM and instead would walk into his bank and specifically request $2 bills for a good portion of a withdrawal, just so he could have the joy of seeing the recipients’ faces light up at the unusual sight of the bill. Sometimes, if I were running an errand for him, he’d hand me a few $2 bills to pay, and while everyone at the store or restaurant said, “Oh, wow, I haven’t seen one of those in person/in years!”, they still knew that the bills were legit because they had heard of them. And most of them would say, “I wish those were more in circulation, like the Canadian $2 coins. They’re so handy.” I agree. But I guess banks are to blame for the rarity of the $2 bill — they, and the typical cash register drawer that has limited slots for bills.

    With all the push for technology in schools, you would think that an administrator could have consulted Google and had an answer in about five seconds.

  24. Hoover says:

    Way back in the late 90s, I used to pay for lunch at my Catholic high school everyday with 2 dollar bills. Lunch was 1.50, and every week my grandfather would give me 10 dollars for lunch. I’d go to the bank, get it changed for 5 of the 2 dollar bills, and every day I’d only have to carry a single bill for lunch – I’d use the leftover 50 cents for a snack or treat after lunch.

    To this day carry 2 dollar bills in my wallet -though I don’t use them, I carry them more for sentiment. They are by far the most patriotic having the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the reverse.

  25. ajf1984 says:

    I used to have a $2 bill that I kept in my wallet, not for spending but ‘just to have’ because it was neat…anyway, there was one time I was $1.50 short on cab fare using ‘normal’ currency, and I had to fork over my $2 bill. The cabbie had no problem accepting it (and no, I wasn’t in Virginia where such a thing is apparently commonplace!), but I was upset for having to let it go. Still haven’t had an opportunity to acquire another one!

    In regard to dollar coins, I had to explain to my 7- and 5-year old sons that it was perfectly acceptable for them to use a Susan B. Anthony, Presidential $1 coin, or Sacajawea (remember those) dollar coin to pay for the bake sale at their school. They both came home with goodies, so I’m guessing they didn’t have any troubles with staff members not accepting the currency! Of course, they attend an independent Catholic school using a classical curriculum, so…

  26. Gerard Plourde says:

    No teacher, administrator, or police officer was familiar with a denomination of legal U.S. Currency? No one knew enough to check the Bureau of Printing and Engraving’s web site which has a specimen of the $2 bill (and all other denominations currently in circulation)? If this is any indication of the state of education in some Texas school districts, it becomes clear why people want to have them adhere to some kind of established and recognized standard.

  27. AP says:

    I’ll admit that this incident seems outrageous on the surface, but there’s a little more to the story that isn’t reported here.

    1. There have been 40 cases of forgery in school lunch lines in Houston and 2 neighboring districts between the years 2013 and 2016.

    2. As someone noticed earlier in these comments, this particular $2 bill is old–dated 1953–and the school’s counterfeit pen didn’t work on it.

  28. APX says:

    the school’s counterfeit pen didn’t work on it

    Of course it didn’t. Those pens don’t work, and money (even the older bills) have counterfeit security features on them that can be checked without the use of items such as special pens, lights, etc.

    There are ways to handle allegedly counterfeit money, and going to the most extreme measure is really not warranted. Anyone can innocently be in the possession of counterfeit money simply by having received an undetected counterfeit bill in their change. Regardless of where I worked as a cashier, we were always trained to politely tell the customer that we cannot accept the bill in question because we are unable to verify its authenticity, and ask for another bill or different method of payment. Never did it get to the point of having to call in the RCMP Fraud Unit. At the most it resulted in the police coming to pick up any suspected bills we did receive, sending them away to the RCMP for verification, and if it was legit, it was returned, and if it was counterfeit, then they kept it and the person was SOL.

  29. Arele says:

    Besides the fact that it’s rare, but legal tender, if someone was going to counterfeit money, they sure as heck wouldn’t choose $2 as the denomination! They’d pick something more common that would pass under the radar, not to mention something more worthwhile for their time and effort – like a $20 at least.

    Just wow…

  30. Kerry says:

    Interesting that in their ignorance of the existence of the $2 bill, they assume it must be fraudulent. In the vernacular, “I never seen one, it’s gotta be fake”.

  31. ChadS says:

    Part of the problem here is that the counterfeiting pen used to check bills did not work properly on the $2, since the bill was from the 1950s and the formula used to make the money would have been different than it is today. As to why nobody seemed to have taken a step back and looked at the date or just calmed down and thought for a second, I’ll never understand.

  32. Mary Jane says:

    My Grandma gave me a $2 bill when I was maybe 6 years old; I never spent it and still have it tucked away somewhere. I thought it was the coolest bill I’d ever seen and didn’t want to spend it!

    I was traveling on some out-of-state toll roads recently and, as I didn’t think my own toll tag would work out-of-state I thought, “Might be a good time to use up those .50 pieces in the glove box…” Then I thought, “Does anyone still use those? What if the guy at the booth thinks they’re fake, or what if the coin machine rejects them because they’re not so common anymore?”

  33. Charles E Flynn says:

    My father was a bartender who was required to make a serious effort to detect counterfeit money. If he put a counterfeit bill in his cash register (most likely a $20) and it was determined to be counterfeit, the value of the bill was deducted from his weekly salary (around $75 in the late 1950s, if I recall correctly).

    One afternoon, at the thoroughbred race track where he was working, my father insisted that some $20 bills were counterfeit. An FBI agent was summoned to examine the bills, and the agent believed them to be genuine. My father insisted (I am not sure whether this was his right under his union contract, or his right as an American citizen) that the Secret Service be summoned. The Secret Service arrived, examined the bills, and an agent said, “You are really good. These are the best counterfeit $20s we have seen in years.”

  34. Orlando says:

    The stupidity indeed ! Common sense is no more, pretty soon you will be called a homophobic, sexist , biget , global warming denying, gluten eating, V8 driving, meat loving monster for believing boys should go to boys bathrooms and girls should go to girls bathrooms …. Oh wait, that already happened here in Charlotte. We have dumb politicians but an awesome traditional bishop.

  35. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Kudos to the posts explaining about the counterfeit pen . . . sounds a little more believable now. I see some of my fellow Canadians have chimed in . We had a $2.00 bill at one time here too. Unfortunately we Canadians are too embarrassed to talk about the real reasons that we don’t have a $2.00 bill anymore. But it’s time the world finally knew the truth.

    The Canadian $2.00 bill is still legal chicken here too . . .if you can find one , however it has been out of circulation for some time now : The government took away our two dollar bill and replaced it with a two dollar coin some years ago . . .

    Why ? Well, simply because we Canadians just aren’t that smart when it comes to money – and that was starting to become much more painfully apparent to the rest of the world with our $2.00 bill – so they nuked it and gave us a 2 dollar coin instead. For some mysterious reason, most Canadians always believed that our $2.00 bill was worth way more than $2.00 ; and they could never be convinced otherwise.

    How ? The trouble all started with the devil (like it always does) back in 1954 . The Canadian mint started printing 2 dollar bills with an image of the devil’s face in the Queen’s hair. . .You know. . . “The devil is in the details.” While blame for that one was shifting between the Canadian mint, the photographer, and the Queen’s hairdresser , those in Canadian society who were more adept at operating in both of our official languages of English and French began to have problems calculating the worth of the 2 dollar bill. As one studies those pics one notices that the value of “Two Dollars” and of “Deux Dollars” are written on both sides of the bill. This led bilingual people to believe they were holding a bill that was worth 4 dollars (while those bilingual people who bothered to look at both sides of the bill actually believed they were holding a bill that was worth 8 dollars).

    In 1986 the government tried to remedy the problem by issuing a new, different 2 dollar bill. The problem was that they cost us $80.00 a pop and they all came looking like this.

    Canadians subsequently encountered insurmountable difficulty trying to fold these things enough times to make them fit in their wallets, and as a result, all the Canadian men started carrying large purses. Our newly elected prime minister at that time told us there was a special tool we had to buy to cut out the 2 dollar bills individually. . . he said it was called a money clip. When it was finally proven to him that a money clip wouldn’t cut the paper (he had a cheapie model that came with a pair of mini-scissors), he tabled a bill and passed a law allowing us to use scissors : He promised Canadians that if we could even cut just one 2 dollar bill out of the sheet, it would be worth the original value of the sheet , on the one condition that the men would agree to throw away their large purses.

    That part prompted the Canadian banks to panic, and in a surge of greed they madly began buying up all the old out of circulation 2 dollar bills for twenty bucks a pop at a fever pitch – hoping they could get the deed done before average Canadians had a chance to figure it out and cash in on it too.

    This anomaly has been dubbed (behind financial markets’ closed doors) as Canada’s two buck bane. Runor has it, that this particular Canadian 2 dollar bill isn’t really worth the 15 grand they say it is, but began rather as an inside prank on the money market, based on a friendly wager between magnates on how much they could actually make a Canadian believe his 2 dollar bill was worth.

    That last 2 dollar bill issued in 1986 (and pulled in 1996) was called the “Birds of Canada” issue, and featured the value written in miniscule size on the obverse side only as “two dollars deux” , and a “Birds of Canada” feature on the reverse side. BTW the proper name for that “Bird of Canada” is “The American Robin”. On the actual bill, in English, it only says “Robin”, while in French, at least they admitted it- “Merle d’Amerique.”

    The Bank of Canada appears to have removed any image of the 2 dollar bill from its gallery (to avoid embarrassment perhaps ?)

    . . . All this because the devil got into the Queens hair.

    Maybe somebody should’ve told her majesty about Confession.

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    “[Give that $2 bills are legal tenders and that chicken tenders, would currency in the Coop be chicken tenders?]”

    That would be chicken trafficking or trafficking in chicken parts, wouldn’t it?

    The Chicken

  37. vikingjr says:

    If the note in the picture is the actual note presented, it may be worth something more than $2… it looks like a gold certificate. She should sue the school for stealing from her. How this nation has fallen…

  38. Grumpy Beggar says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    “ ‘[Give that $2 bills are legal tenders and that chicken tenders, would currency in the Coop be chicken tenders?]’

    That would be chicken trafficking or trafficking in chicken parts, wouldn’t it?”

    The Chicken

    “Chicken trafficking” at least, might, after all these years, finally present us with a logical explanation of why the chicken crossed the road.

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