Hayley Russell was described by many of her teachers as both “bright and capable,” as well as “overly social, and often sidetracked in class.” She sounds like an average middle school student, to me. So what did the former Rachel Carson Middle School student do to earn a seven week suspension, and be prohibited from being on school property without first obtaining permission? She brought drugs to school. Hayley’s drug of choice was prescription acne medication, and under the Fairfax County, Virginia school district’s zero tolerance drug policy, Haley deserved a strict punishment. We all know what a threat clear skin is to our public institutions of learning. You can find the Washington Post article here.
I will grant that both Haley and her parents should have followed school rules and sent the medication to the school where it would have been stored in the office and administered as needed by a school official. They didn’t. Haley kept the pills in her locker. After two classmates narced on her to school administrators, the school investigated the matter, taking ten pages of notes and conducting a school hearing that the Russells described as both “invasive and condescending.” There was absolutely no evidence that Hayley ever attempted to sell or distribute her acne medication to other students, or do anything other than combat the affects of clogged pores.
Any school administrator worth their salt would have discovered the medication, called the Russells, reminded them of the school policy and asked them to comply, and then returned Hayley to the classroom. That would have been not only rational and sane, but perfectly acceptable under Virigina law, which clearly states that in situations involving drugs, “special circumstances may be considered and other consequences given by school boards or through a superintendent’s designee.” Haley’s disciplinary record was clean. She was an A/B student. Instead, an investigation ensued that determined Hayley “willfully and deliberately possessed and consumed prescription medication at school, knowing that her actions were in violation of school rules,” adding that she “put the safety and well-being of other students and staff at risk.”
The staff and students were in danger.
Would someone remind why we’re supposed to send our children to public schools?