Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Pack Of Dumb

At the end of last week, a middle school girl from a local district was suspended for three days for sharing her gum. I'm not kidding. It wasn't just any gum, though. It was Jolt gum. With caffeine in it.

Caffeine? So what?

Well, the Burrell School District has a problem with it. They have a zero tolerance drug policy, and "products acting as a stimulant are prohibited," according to Superintendent Amy Palermo.

Apparently they also have a zero tolerance policy in regards to common sense.

Jolt gum is "a stimulant that has no other redeeming quality," Palermo stated. Uhh...what? If it also whitened your teeth while you chewed it, would the girl have only gotten a one day suspension? And who gets to decide on what exactly a redeeming quality might be?

Plus, the girl was sharing. I thought that was a good thing. Sesame Street has been going on and on about how important it is to share for as long as I can remember.

Am I to believe that caffeinated coffee and tea and soft drinks are also prohibited in the school district? And what about chocolate? I think that a lunch monitor could walk around the cafeteria passing out suspensions at will. Especially around Halloween and Easter.

"So your Mom packed you a Mountain Dew and a Hershey's bar? Sorry, but you're out of here. We'll see you in a week. We have a zero tolerance policy, you know."

I bet that this girl will, at the very least, get a few free cases of Jolt gum. I mean, had you even heard of it until this incident? Now this news story is everywhere.

I wonder how many pieces of gum a middle school kid can chew in three days. And without having to share any of it...


Anonymous said...

What about the student on the receiving end of the shared gum? If we’re going to treat this as a drug policy violation, shouldn’t that student be suspended for at least 1 day?

If anything the suspension should have been based on the fact that this student shared the gum with only 1 other student. I think the policy clearly states that “if snacks are brought to class you have to bring enough for everyone.”

It seems like this student was doomed no matter what she did anyway. If she hadn’t been chewing the caffeine gum, she would probably have been suspended for falling asleep in class.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just thought that the student would get a couple cases of free gum. It turns out that the makers of Jolt Gum have given her a $1,000 scholarship instead.

I also received some inside information from an employee of the district - she says that the schools have soda machines but that they are turned off during the school day.

If the girl had only waited until 3:05 pm, maybe we could have avoided all of this...

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