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Seventh Grader Suspended For Touching Pill

Seventh Grader Suspended For Touching Pill

It all happened on February 23 at River Valley Middle School in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Seventh grader Rachel Greer was in the locker room during fifth period gym class when a fellow student walked in with a bag of pills.

“She was talking to another girl and me about them and she put one in my hand and I was like, ‘I don’t want this,’ so I put it back in the bag and I went to gym class,” said Rachel. The pills were the prescription ADHD drug, Adderall, and after years of training under the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, Rachel knew she had to “Just Say No.”

But that wasn’t the end of it. During sixth period, an assistant principal came and took Rachel out of class. It turned out that the girl who originally had the pills and a few other students got caught. Then came the shocker: “We’re suspending you for five days because it was in your hand,” the administrator told Rachel. Apparently he told the girl that he was very sorry he had to do it, but the rules are the rules. District officials later said that if they’re not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously. 

What lesson can Rachel learn here? Because she said NO to illegal drugs and told the complete truth about what happened in the locker room, she was punished. Presumably she would also have been punished if she had said YES, so maybe next time she’ll choose that route.

What does it take for school administrators to use some common sense? A policy, zero tolerance or any other, is a guideline. Every situation is different, and school officials need to be able to approach each situation individually, and make an appropriate decision, based on the relevant facts.

After hearing the news, Patty Greer, Rachel’s mother, went to school officials to complain. “That’s not a good policy,” Greer said. “We’re teaching our kids if you say no to drugs you’re going to get punished; it’s not right.”

District officials were not impressed. Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools, replied that the girl should not have put out her hand. “Someone hands them a pill or a drug or something like that and they say well I said no I didn’t participate. Well the act of saying no is not to be there, not to be involved in the handling the, you know, they didn’t have to put their hand out.” (In case you’re wondering, I am quoting Mr. Bell verbatim here.)

According to Greater Clark County Schools district policy, even a touch equals drug possession and a one week suspension.  Wanna get a five-day vacation from school? Just say no, and get yourself suspended!

And this just in: When Mason Jammer, a kindergarten student at Jefferson Elementary in Ionia, Michigan, curled his fist into the shape of a gun Wednesday and pointed it at another student, school officials suspended the 6-year-old until Friday, saying the behavior made other students uncomfortable. Really? Couldn’t the school find any other way to teach Mason not to make a gun with his hand? When will this madness stop?

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Judy Molland

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296 comments

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6:11AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Reminds me of the time someone put flower in my bag and tried to pretend it was drugs. I went ballistic but the teacher stood by ME because he knew my parents owned a pharmacy and this crap had happened once before. I wonder W.T.F would have happened in THIS school? I'd have likely been expelled..... FOR SHAME, AMERICA!!

6:11AM PST on Jan 8, 2013

It's a long tradition for school officials to punish the innocent, why are we so surprised by this. I'm not. But that's just such a sad sad thing isn't it?

8:48PM PST on Jan 6, 2013

This is stupid! The girl did not take the pill from her drug dealing friend! I think school officals need to use common sense!

11:07AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

Something is wrong with this story. The other girl should not have had the bag of pills in the first place. The girl who got suspended should have reported the drug dealer.

10:22AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

Zero tolerance?? I don't think so! zero tolerance is for when you actually do something wrong! If a principal or teacher cannot understand the difference they should be fired. Gosh, what are we coming to??

7:58AM PST on Jan 6, 2013

this is just stupid, she is being punished for doing the right thing????? how absurd.

11:51AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

continued...(and reminded a few times because he's only 6) and they let it go.
Jeez, I was in the first grade in the 1970's and we used to fashion guns out of sticks and chase each other around the playground 'shooting' each other. It was just playing out the western movies our parents watched on TV. Now kids can't even play it out to make sense of it without getting in big trouble even though they are seeing much more violent stuff at home than an old western movie. Where is the common sense?

11:49AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

" Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools, replied that the girl should not have put out her hand. “Someone hands them a pill or a drug or something like that and they say well I said no I didn’t participate. Well the act of saying no is not to be there, not to be involved in the handling the, you know, they didn’t have to put their hand out.”

Well, there's her out, should this go to court or something. It's a natural human reaction for people to put out their hands when someone goes to hand you something. It's involuntary and therefore not a willful action.
Also is the principal saying she was not supposed to be in the locker room where she was supposed to be when this occurred? She would have been in trouble probably for NOT being there if she had walked out or not showed up for gym class. She loses either way...

The more I read about the dummies who are supposed to be teaching our kids, the more I realize how right I was about my own teachers being emotionally and intellectually stunted when I was in school.
I wouldn't mind pulling my kids out of school before they encounter this kind of unthinking authority, but for now, my kid has a nice hippy-dippy teacher who lets them learn without shoving them all into the same mould. He's only in first grade though...
And when he made a weapon with his fist (he's a Star Wars fan) he was taught that he wasn't supposed to do that at school, (and reminded a few times because he's only 6) and they

2:12AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

OH MY GOODNESS ME

8:22AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

I grew up in one of the 'test' areas for zero tolerance (north texas, late 80's early 90's) right along with DARE

asinine, insane, out of touch with reality, big brother at its finest. This looks back to the days of the late 50's, when it wasn't 'education, but indoctrination'

My children, should I ever bring a child into this messed up, screwed up, insane world, will be home schooled...with things like Plato and Kant, Shakespeare and yes, even Twain, and grow up being educated to do things like change oil and balance a checkbook.

Taught to think and reason, and not just follow blindly the orders of those who set themselves above by virtue of their fat wallets.

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