Indiana Student Suspended for Just Saying No

Indiana Student Suspended for Just Saying No

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

I thought we were safe here in Indiana. I thought we didn't do Zero Tolerance. Turns out the stupidity and harm of this blinded-to-logic-and-reason way of thinking has hit the Hoosier state.

Seventh grader Rachael Greer, at River Valley Middle School in Jeffersonville, Indiana (a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky), ran afoul of the Zero Tolerance thick-headedness last week for — wait for it — briefly handling a pill handed to her by another student.

According to a story on WAVE3's website (Louisville's NBC affiliate), Rachael said her incident happened on February 23, when another girl in her class came into the the girl's locker room carrying a bag of Adderall pills, a prescription ADHD drug. The girl told Rachael and another girl about the pills, and she stuck one in Rachael's hand. Rachael said "No, I'm not taking this," handed it back, and went to gym class.

Rachael has been in DARE class for several years, and she knew what she was supposed to do: just say no. So she did. She told her classmate she didn't want it, stuck it back in the girl's bag, and left.

End of story, right? No, of course not. This is a Zero Tolerance school. That means they operate with a strict, almost Terminator-like adherence to draconian punishments meant to discourage students, harm reputations, and possibly ruin higher education opportunities.

So it's not too surprising that an assistant principal showed up at Rachael's next class and pulled her out. Apparently the original pusher, and a few other students, had been caught with the pills. One of them said Rachael had touched a pill for a few seconds.

And it was that brief physical contact that made all the difference in the world. School policy was clear: Rachael was to be carted off to a rock quarry at a juvenile delinquent work camp, and made to break rocks for three weeks.

Just kidding, she was suspended for five days. But you probably weren't too surprised about the work camp thing, were you?

But I hope you're asking, "what did she do that was so wrong?"

Apparently nothing. At least that's what Rachael's mom, Patty, believes.

"I'm proud her conscience kicked in and she said, ‘No, I'm not taking this. Here you can have it back,'" Patty Greer told WAVE3.

The problem is that according to the Greater Clark County Schools (official motto: teaching your kids the Earth is flat since the Great Flood killed all the dinosaurs), even touching a pill constitutes drug possession, and they had absolutely no leeway to exercise any kind of common sense or make an exceptions to the rule.

Rules, after all, are rules, no matter how severe or asinine they are. And rules are to be followed blindly, without allowing administrators to exercise any sort of personal judgment or free thinking.

Erin Bojourquez, a spokeswoman for the Greater Clark County Schools, told the Louisville Courier-Journal, that even though Rachel "gave the pill back, she was punished because she handled the pill."

So, let me make sure I understand this: Rachael attends DARE classes. Rachael learns to just say no. Someone sticks a pill in her hand, and Rachael says no. And when she tells the truth about it, she gets suspended for doing everything she's supposed to do.

In other words, school officials have made it necessary for Rachael and other students to lie in the future to avoid stupid punishments.

Rachael's mom, Patty, was naturally upset. She went to school officials to see just how far their heads were up their backsides. Not too far, since they could apparently hear her enough to answer her questions.

"He said she wrote it down on a witness statement and she had told the truth, he said she was very, very honest, and he said he was sorry he had to do it, but it was school policy," Patty said.

WAVE3 asked Martin Bell, COO of the Greater Clark County Schools, what would have happened if Rachael had told a teacher about the drugs. He said she still would have been suspended. District officials told the TV station, "if they're not strict about the drug policies, no one will take them seriously."

Yeah, that makes sense. They're also taking school and district officials seriously too.

And by "taking them seriously," I mean "think they're a bunch of jack-booted thugs with education degrees and no common sense."

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