Superintendent’s Advil headache

The high school girl expelled for carrying Advil in her purse may get a second chance. The Bossier, Louisiana school board finally decided to check with an attorney about the state law, the one they thought mandated one-year expulsion for any drug, including legal, over-the-counter pills.

Mandatory expulsion is the same penalty state law requires for students caught with illegal or prescription drugs. But the state law outlining student discipline is silent on nonprescription medication.

“It (school discipline law) talks about possessing or the intent to distribute any illegal or narcotic drug,” said Gary Reed, the state Department of Education’s legislative affairs consultant. “But if you talk about a kid bringing something to school that’s nonprescription, it’s not a controlled, dangerous substance. When you talk about that, that’s kind of a gray area of over-the-counter medications.”

It doesn’t seem gray to me.

State law does say students should turn in prescription and nonprescription medicine to school officials, who can dispense it only with a doctor’s OK. Just imagine how many times a girl turns in her Advil and a school clerk calls the girl’s doctor to see if she’s allowed to take Advil. That’s a great use of everyone’s time, or would be if anyone ever turned in aspirin to the office.

Anyhow, the school board is meeting tonight to rethink the expulsion policy. Or to think about it for the first time.

Update: A sophomore at an Alabama high school was suspended for one month for taking a Motrin for menstrual cramps. The principal explained the girl might have given a Motrin to another girl who might have been allergic and the school might have been sued.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Look, if you girls would just stop having periods you wouldn’t need various pain relievers for cramps, okay? Zero tolerance means ZERO tolerance, even for nature!

    [pauses]

    Yuck – I tried to think like an administrator, and now I need a shower.

  2. Just goes to show you: Tyranny can not abide the light of day.

  3. This is what amazes me about the media. They will discuss this topic endlessly, but would never thing the obtain and quote the relevant sections of the actual state law. Secondary sources only…

  4. Cousin Dave says:

    “Anyhow, the school board is meeting tonight to rethink the expulsion policy. Or to think about it for the first time.” Isn’t that a big leap of faith, Joanne?

  5. PJ/Maryland says:

    Joanne, I think when a lawyer says “gray area” he means that it’s not 100% obvious in all cases what should happen. Or, he could be covering for his boss.

    Mandatory expulsion is the same penalty state law requires for students caught with illegal or prescription drugs.

    I like the way heroin and prescription allergy pills are treated the same; yeah, somebody certainly spent time thinking about this! And then to lump over the counter medication in, too, really takes the cake.

    It seems to me that if a high school student can walk into a drug store and buy a medication, they can be presumed to know when and how to use it.

    If the school board ends up not correcting this problem, I suggest that all the parents send a bottle of vitamins in to school with their kids. Have the kids turn in the vitamins to “school officials”, and then once or twice a day waste everyone’s time by asking to take one of the vitamins. If enough man-hours are wasted, the board may wake up.

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Hey, JJ – I hope your light of day helped wake these jerks up.

  7. “I think when a lawyer says “gray area” he means that it’s not 100% obvious in all cases what should happen.”

    That’s true. However, the person using that phrase in this case is a bureaucrat. When a bureaucrat says “gray area” it means that he knows that the agency does not have the statutory power to do whatever it is it did–and he is merely covering its ass.

  8. A simple solution… at the High School where I work the students can turn in a bottle of Advil, Midol, whatever, to the school nurse along with a signed note from the parent saying that whenever the student comes in and asks for it, they may have it. Then there aren’t phone calls all the time, and we (the teacher and other faculty) know that “that girl at the drinking fountain” isn’t taking drugs. (They would take the asprin in the office.) A simple solution to an out-of-control situation.
    …btw, I do NOT take the asprin from students, and I don’t turn them in. I check the bottle to be sure that it is what they say it is, and then I inform them of the rule and tell them that if I see the asprin again, I will have to take it from them.

  9. Andy Freeman says:

    Once again, public schools demonstrate that that they are unable to make meaningful distinctions.

    Which makes it hard to believe that they can teach the ability to make meaningful distinctions….

    Remind me – why are we paying these people?

  10. Sean Kinsell says:

    Didn’t anyone else notice how hilariously apposite the name of the town is? As in this headline:

    Bossier School Board upholds Advil expulsion

    Uh-huh.

  11. Sean Kinsell says:

    (Oh, and I do realize that if the pronunciation is Francophone, it’s only going to work visually.)

  12. Kirk Parker says:

    > Or to think about it for the first time.

    I bet doing this will make their heads hurt.

  13. D Anghelone says:

    Does the law address students or school property? If the latter then it applies as well to faculty.

  14. “(Oh, and I do realize that if the pronunciation is Francophone, it’s only going to work visually.)”

    Thanks for the hint. I wouldn’t have caught it otherwise.

    “It seems to me that if a high school student can walk into a drug store and buy a medication, they can be presumed to know when and how to use it.”

    No! Don’t give them any ideas! Next thing you know, you’ll have to show your ID before you can buy over-the-counter medication!

  15. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Terminal stupidity!!!

  16. David Jacobs says:

    Now Julie, don’t go and get all reasonable and logical on us. Remember, when it comes to state matters, no thinking is allowed. And that’s a zero tolerance policy.

  17. Caffeinated Curmudgeon says:

    Sean Kinsell wrote:

    >Didn’t anyone else notice how hilariously apposite the name of the town is? As in this headline:
    >
    >Bossier School Board upholds Advil expulsion
    >
    >Uh-huh.

    That suggests “bossier” as the comparative form of “bossy”.

    But they don’t pronounce it that way.

    And wrote again:

    >(Oh, and I do realize that if the pronunciation is Francophone, it’s only going to work visually.)

    That theoretically makes sense because of the acadian/cajun history, but they don’t pronounce it “Bo-see-yeah” either.

    The lo cals pronounce it “Bozzure” (rhymes with “closure”).

    Trust me on that.

  18. I always used Goodies headache powders when I cramped up at school. Lots of us in our little clique did. So, there we were at school, walking around with little waxed paper envelopes of fine grain white powder. It’s a wonder we weren’t sent straight to Attica or somewhere.
    gotta love administrators….

  19. David Jacobs — I know — ZERO tolerance, but I am sorry, if I have a headache (or cramps for that matter) I will take some OTC meds, too! I guess I’m the exception to the rule, I cut the kids some slack! =]

  20. Wacky Hermit says:

    Did anyone notice that the girl who was suspended for taking Motrin for cramps was suspended for one month? Was that length of time deliberate, so that when she comes back to school, her offense will be fresh in her mind for her next period?

  21. I wonder if this same school system will provide free and confidential “morning after” pills to this same child?????

  22. PJ/Maryland says:

    “The big concern we have is that it may be fine for one student to take over-the-counter medication, but what if he or she gives it to another student and they have an allergic reaction,” [Principal] Cassady asked. “That is where the liability comes in with us.”

    Of course, this also applies to peanut butter sandwiches, which I believe are also sold over the counter!

  23. Andy Freeman says:

    > Of course, this also applies to peanut butter sandwiches, which I believe are also sold over the counter!

    Many enlightened schools have banned nut products.

  24. Now, only if they would ban nut ideas…

  25. Once again, Andy rants against public schools.

    Remind me, what was free thinking again?

  26. Andy Freeman says:

    > Once again, Andy rants against public schools.

    Really – where does the word “public” appear in my message?

    Or, is SuzieQ assuming that only public schools would have such a policy? Or that other people would make that assumption?

    Is she certain that I think such a policy is a bad idea even though I labelled it “enlightened”? If so, that’s an assumption that such a policy is, as they say, “dumb”.

    If I’m “ranting”, does that mean that she believes that my position wrt such a policy is wrong? Yet, no argument supporting her rebuttal. Or is it that one shouldn’t point out public school behavior that might be viewed in a negative light?

  27. Very inspiring, thankyou! Good luck to you in the future. 🙂