A teenage girl has been suspended from school because she was seen at school taking her birth-control pill

The girl suspended from school – and threatened with expulsion – for taking her birth-control pill…

PillA teenage girl has been suspended from school for drug-taking, and recommended for expulsion – because she was seen at school taking her birth-control pill.

“I realize my daughter broke a rule,” the mother told theWashington Post. But “the punishment does not fit the crime.”

Many American schools have zero-tolerance drug policies, and they really mean zero tolerance – no cough medicines, no prescription drugs, no over-the-counter medicines. It sounds like the regime top sportspeople are subjected to. Everything in tablet form is suspicious, even if you or I may think it shouldn’t be.

In fact, later this month, The Supreme Court will be considering thecase of a 13-year-old Arizona student, Savana Redding, who was strip-searched in 2003 by staff who suspected that she had brought Ibuprofen tablets to school. They found nothing. Is it just me or does this “all or nothing” policy just seem ridiculous?

US schools do have varying policies when it comes to drugs, depending on state law. Some allow students to carry cough sweets (but not to share them). Some don’t even let children put on sunscreen at school, although in Maryland, the requirement for a doctor’s note for children to use sunscreen at school has been overturned.

It is obviously important to continue the “war against drugs”, but one has to wonder how far you go. In New Jersey, Millburn High, recently named the state’s best, is soon to start using dogs to search for drugs on campus. An email to parents said: “I willingly risk student trust if it saves a single life.”

And of course, tied up in all this is the question of teen pregnancy and birth control. In the school where the girl has been suspended for taking the pill, the Washington Post points out that “even carrying the pills in a backpack is counted among the most serious offences in the Student Responsibilities and Rights handbook.” If the girl involved (an honour student),  had been caught high on LSD, heroin or another illegal drug, she would have been suspended for five days. Taking her prescribed birth-control pill while at school meant she was subject to the same punishment as bringing in a gun. Isn’t there a danger of losing sight of the real dangers here?


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