The parents of a Kentuckiana seventh grade student say their young daughter was suspended from school for doing exactly what she's been taught to do for years - to just say no to drugs.
The girl did not bring the prescription drug to her Jeffersonville, IN school, nor did she take it, but she admits that she touched it and in Greater Clark County Schools that is drug possession.
Rachael Greer said it happened on Feb. 23 during fifth period gym class at River Valley Middle School when a girl walked into the locker room 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 Rachael.
The pills were the prescription ADHD drug, Adderall. Patty Greer, Rachael's mother, said she and her husband are proud of their daughter for turning down drugs, just like she's been taught for years by DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructors at school.
"I'm proud her conscience kicked in and she said, ‘No, I'm not taking this. Here you can have it back,'" Patty Greer said.
But just saying no didn't end the trouble for Rachael. During the next period, an assistant principal came and took Rachael out of class. It turned out the girl who originally had the pills and a few other students got caught. That's when the assistant principal gave Rachael a decision.
"We're suspending you for five days because it was in your hand," said Rachael.
After hearing the news, Patty Greer went to school officials.
"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," said Patty Greer.
According to Greater Clark County Schools district policy, even a touch equals drug possession and a one week suspension.
"The fact of the matter is, there were drugs on school campus and it was handled, so there was a violation of our policy," said Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools.
We wanted to know what would have happened if Rachael had told a teacher right away. Bell said the punishment would not have been any different. District officials say if they're not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.
"That's not a good policy," said Patty Greer. "We're teaching our kids if you say no to drugs you're going to get punished, it's not right."
Greater Clark County School district officials would not tell us how many other students were involved, but they did tell us there were other suspensions and some students were moved to an alternative school.In a case strangely similar to the Indiana boy who turned in his knife and was expelled for weapons possession,
again the school administrators teach that it is smarter to say nothing and to hide from the authorities than it is to speak up and do the right thing. At least the parent realizes the flaws in the school policies--and I suppose that if the administration is going to be this rotten about it then none of the students will take them seriously as officials.