December 5, 2003 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Possession of ... Advil can get you expelled?
posted by donkeyschlong (50 comments total)
What do you expect? It's not like she has a nutjob radio talk show or anything.
posted by trondant at 12:50 PM on December 5, 2003

So long as there are tests, there will be drugs in schools.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:56 PM on December 5, 2003

I would imagine it is just as easy to get dope at that high school even with the zero tolerance rules. But if you have a headache you'll have to go off campus to get an Advil.

Next they'll take away pens and pencils since they can be used as a weapon.
posted by birdherder at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2003

That really sucks. You can email the parrish school board at:

posted by cell divide at 1:04 PM on December 5, 2003

This doesn't surprise me at all. There are, quite litterally, thousands of such "Zero Tolerance Gone Arwy" stories out there ... whole websites devoted to them, in fact:

Zero Tolerance Nightmare Stories
End Zero Tolerance
The Failure of Zero Tolerance (salon.com link)
Losing my Tolerance for "Zero Tolerance"
posted by anastasiav at 1:04 PM on December 5, 2003

I guess we just live in scared times. Have to watch out for that Advil.

I saw a new sign on the front door of my bank today:
For the safety of our clients and staff members, Wilmington Trust and the Delaware State Police request that you remove hats, hoods and sunglasses before entering this office. Thank you.
I wonder what they would do if someone failed to follow that "request."
posted by bragadocchio at 1:06 PM on December 5, 2003

Actually, birdherder, during my not-brief-enough stay among the general population of a psychiatric ward, I asked for a pen and paper and got a Paper Mate Flair felt-tip with the pocket clip removed... anything with a harder tip they feared could be weaponized. What they should have done was replace the metal wastebaskets with plastic ones. Fortunately, my strong communication skills saved me when I able to express to the wastebasket-weilding attacker: "Not the face!!! Not the face!!!"

But I digress...
I'm surprised they're going after ibuprofen; I thought Extra Strength Tylenol was the REAL gateway drug...
posted by wendell at 1:09 PM on December 5, 2003

It says in the story that her purse was searched because she was suspected of smoking; the punishment for possessing cigarettes is only suspension. Of course, cigarettes aren't as dangerous as Advil.
posted by carter at 1:10 PM on December 5, 2003

Well, now that she is no longer allowed to attend Shreveport schools, she can always get a job at the brand new Shreveport Hooters that will be opening up with a massive government subsidy...
posted by limitedpie at 1:11 PM on December 5, 2003

I'm getting a headache reading this.
posted by Dukebloo at 1:13 PM on December 5, 2003

If only the girl was transgendered so the ACLU could get involved.
posted by Keyser Soze at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2003

zero tolerance == zero judgement == zero intelligence.

Is being expelled from this school actually punishment?
posted by srboisvert at 1:26 PM on December 5, 2003

I'm glad I'm not still back in high school. We used to come to school with machetes and blowtorches and no one seemed to have much of a problem.

Oh yeah, I also drove a car which could be used to run over people. I'm amazed schools are expelling kids for having such terrifying weaponry at their disposal.

Another case of uptight, idiot school boards trying to make school's safe by making each student a terrorist in training. What a freaking waste of time.

By the way, we never used any of our implements of destruction for evil, only for good, like purging the vampires and demons that infested our school. Oh wait, that was some show on TV called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Damn, and here I thought I was a hot chick with super strength.
posted by fenriq at 1:35 PM on December 5, 2003

Looking through the links on the bottom of the page, the Shreveport area seems a bit backwards in general. No porno, significant opposition to a new casino; if it takes a tidal wave of government pork to get so much as a Hooters into town, I say go for it.

Also: the adult video store guy owned two stores, and he was only 23? They should have sent him around to speak to local high school assemblies instead of running him out of business. How many 23-year-olds have the work ethic to run their own porn store, much less two of them? I know I don't, and spending my working days in a building full of nekkid movies has been a dream of mine since I was a wee little dateless loser.
posted by crake at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2003

Once again, I propose a nation-wide zero tolerance policy for zero tolerance policies.
posted by rushmc at 1:44 PM on December 5, 2003

For the safety of our clients and staff members, Wilmington Trust and the Delaware State Police request that you remove hats, hoods and sunglasses before entering this office. Thank you.

Huh. The branch of Wilmington Trust I went to today didn't have such a sign.

As to getting expelled for having Advil, that's stupid stuff.
posted by eilatan at 1:52 PM on December 5, 2003

at the clinic were i do pro bono work, we have represented a first grader expelled for picking up a spent shellcasing outside school grounds; an honor student with a scholarship to college from a school where girls of her background usually drop out pregnant expelled for a nail file; a third grader expelled for bringing scissors from home so he wouldn't have to share. . . . i could go on, but it doesn't help to be outraged on metafilter. we need attorneys who will represent these kids before their schoolboards, thereby making zero tolerance too much of a pain to enforce. we need parents and communities to throw out school boards that write, approve and enforce these policies. and we need people, at groundlevel, working with the kids in these communities where the "dangerous" schools are to make the fear which creates these sorts of ridiculous policies go away
posted by crush-onastick at 1:52 PM on December 5, 2003

Um, I'm sooo glad that Amanda Stiles is getting expelled. She thinks she's all that, but I guess this shows her, huh?

Now I'm a shoe-in for Junior Miss River Boat Queen.
posted by eatitlive at 1:55 PM on December 5, 2003

The branch of Wilmington Trust I went to today didn't have such a sign.

It was on the one in Newark, eilatan.
posted by bragadocchio at 2:03 PM on December 5, 2003

This is not an unusual occurrance, unfortunately.
posted by me3dia at 2:39 PM on December 5, 2003

Keyser Soze:
If only the girl was transgendered so the ACLU could get involved.

Um, wtf is that supposed to mean?
posted by delmoi at 2:58 PM on December 5, 2003

"I just never thought about the fact that I could be searched. I think we're old enough to know how many (pills) we can take without overdosing or being in danger."

See, that was her mistake. No, you can't trust near-adults with prescription drugs, you've GOT to assume they'll either deliberately (somehow) get high on them ('cos they're rebellious ne'er-do-wells who will do anything to get high) or overdose ('cos they're stupid and lacking in common-sense). 'cos if you do trust 'em and either of those happens, you'll get sued. Ah, what a world.
posted by kaemaril at 3:02 PM on December 5, 2003

Actually, I'm not surprised by this at all. The public school system, if not the whole of society, is nothing if not ignorant and uncaring about children and teens. We live in a culture that both wants teens to be uber-consumers, yet live in fear and derision of uber-consuming teens. As a teen (so many many years ago) i was

•Suspended for having asprin
•Suspended for being late to class
•My car was searched without my knowledge and I was suspended for having cigarette butts in the ashtray
•Suspended for smoking pot behind the gym (okay, they got me there....)
•Told that people of my background would be better at a vocational school
•Told that people of my background would have trouble "socializing" to college

In short, my treatment by school authorities was less then stellar, but I was lucky. Friends of mine were treated even worse. So if any of you are parents with teen children, consider private schools if you can afford it, but if you can't, be very vigilant about your children and wary of teachers and principles. There are many great people working in the school systems, but there are also many people who burned out ten years before retirement and have no human interest in their students.

posted by elwoodwiles at 3:03 PM on December 5, 2003

Does anyone else find this a little weird? Usualy in stories like this there's some, you know, outrage Why did the parents agree to a closed door session, when they could have demanded to allow the media to participate? Why are they so mute?

But another school official said earlier Thursday that having medication on campus doesn't automatically lead to a one-year expulsion. "After an investigation and a hearing then, if necessary, punishment is administered. It could be no punishment," said Betty McCauley, Bossier schools student services director.

So you may or may not be expelled, why, if that's the case was this girl expelled? They are claming that they don't have a zero-tolerance policy here, so why wasn't this girl 'tolerated'? Do they have a 0.01E-13 tolerance policy or something?

The only thing I can think is if she was selling the Advil claming it was Ecstasy or something, but then why wouldn't the school board mention that?

The search of Stiles' purse that turned up the medication came after a tip from a teacher about a student smoking at school. Herpin said her daughter was part of a group that was searched in response to the tip.

Kruithof said a teacher identified Stiles as the student smoking a cigarette and that Stiles ran into a restroom, where a teacher searched only her purse.

No cigarettes or lighters were found. Stiles was not disciplined for tobacco-related violations.

Students caught smoking usually are suspended.

So ciggs aren't a 'nonprescription drug' now? I mean, wtf?

I wonder if they just busted her on this because they wanted to 'get' those dirty 'smokers'.

Unless something is being hidden, these peopel should all be fired.
posted by delmoi at 3:07 PM on December 5, 2003

For the safety of our clients and staff members, Wilmington Trust and the Delaware State Police request that you remove hats, hoods and sunglasses before entering this office. Thank you.

The branches of my credit union has had this sign on their doors for a few years now.

I walked in once with my prescription sunglasses on. When I got to the counter, I was pleasantly asked to remove them, but when I explained they were prescription and I didn't have my regular glasses, they were okay with it. Plus I didn't have a gun, so that might have helped.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:08 PM on December 5, 2003

...er, of course the sign doesnt say Wilmington Trust and the Delaware State Police being that I am in Alaska and all...
posted by rhapsodie at 3:09 PM on December 5, 2003

Crush-onastick, I'm glad people like you exist. I had no idea there were lawyers taking these sorts of cases on pro bono. I'm glad it's become a big enough issue for people to start doing something - or at least, doing something from outside the system. Those of us in the system trying to deal with this sort of thing are fighting a losing battle.

As a teacher, I cringe every time one of these stories appears. For my rather long-winded experience with Zero Tolerance Policies, go here - I give my take on why these policies exist even though they're self-evidently stupid. (Apologies for the self-link).
posted by Chanther at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2003

I just want to say that the ads on that site were so frustrating that I actually said "gaaahhhhh!" at one point and turned off the browser.

I could have loaded up Mozilla, yes, and got around them, but the side-effect of Mozilla is that I never know what sites are run by assholes and should be boycotted.
posted by Hildago at 3:12 PM on December 5, 2003

Behold the power of Metafilter. I agree with Cell Divide we should share our opinions with the Principle.
posted by EmoChild at 3:13 PM on December 5, 2003

Sending your comments to the Principal is also advised. :-)
posted by EmoChild at 3:17 PM on December 5, 2003

This was true at my regressive school in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

If you had to take a prescription or OTC drug, you had to bring in a supply with a note from your doctor or parent and leave it in the nurse's office, where she kept it in a locked case and dispensed it to you only as ordered in the note or on the prescription.

Of course, there was plenty of weed to be purchased in the parking lot...
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:26 PM on December 5, 2003

...you had to bring in a supply with a note from your doctor or parent and leave it in the nurse's office...

We had to do that in elementary school, but not high school.
The only rules in my HS about OTC drugs was that teachers couldn't give students any.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:30 PM on December 5, 2003

I thought suspension meant you were barred from attending for a period of time and expulsion meant you were never to return. It sounds like she was suspended to me.

Not that makes this any less dumb.
posted by NortonDC at 5:37 PM on December 5, 2003

So, when do they start banning the known drug Caffeine?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:56 PM on December 5, 2003

Let this be a lesson to kids everywhere: keep your Advil in a Ritalin bottle.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:46 PM on December 5, 2003

And then, of course, there's lovely, scenic Albany, New York, where students have been expelled when parents refused to follow the school shrink's recommendation that their children be prescribed Ritalin. After all, can't have those kids running around with all kinds of hormones god knows what else and things without their nice deadening drugs.... Mmmmm, Soma.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:08 PM on December 5, 2003

Let this be a lesson to kids everywhere: keep your Advil in a Ritalin bottle.

Right, because that stuff is being handed out like candy.

nice deadening drugs....

How can a stimulant that you're not even supposed to take at night because it'll keep you up be "deadening"?
posted by transona5 at 7:22 PM on December 5, 2003

This stuff is hardly new. I was suspended for three days from middle school in 1991 for "hacking a virus into a school computer" (quote is the asst. principal's, from the suspension order).

Said 'hacking' involved pushing control-closedapple-reset on an office secretary's Apple ][, which creates a pretty screen of flashing colors.

Mind you this was the same administration that pulled me out of Latin class to fix the library's computer, which also had a "virus". In that case, the problem was that the librarian had accidentally plugged the power strip into itself instead of into the wall...
posted by dmd at 7:54 PM on December 5, 2003

in second grade i had my luden's cough drops confiscated by the principal (who looked a little too much like hitler). he said something about cough drops leading to aspirin and aspirin leading to hard drugs. he said he would give them back to me at the end of the day, but he didn't.

fucking nazi.
posted by goddam at 8:58 PM on December 5, 2003

I don't have any horror stories in high school...but I guess you get lucky when you're the only minority student in the honors classes. (okay, that's not true - my twin brother was there too).
posted by Stynxno at 9:01 PM on December 5, 2003

Louisiana again, I see. Well, at least it's not *just* Texas that has a bassackwards sense of education. I weep to think that someday my child will have to interact with people that stupid. Zero tolerance is absurd. The drug "war" is absurd. Expelling a kid for advil is just ridiculous.

Now, if it were me, I think I'd be on the phone to Wyeth's legal and marketing people. There's a huge, giant deal that can be made...think of the marketing potential if their lawyers swoop in and get the board's decision reversed, and while they're fighting the case, they could put the kid in private school at their expense. Then, when everything is all settled, and the school board has been sacrificed to the swamp gator gods, Advil can use the new slogan "We make your headaches go away" and use the family as endorsers... It's genius I tell you, genius.
posted by dejah420 at 9:29 PM on December 5, 2003

My school district in Virginia had a zero-pills policy in when I started high school in 1992. We were also not allowed to pretend to have drugs. Someone brought crepes to a French class and joked that the powdered sugar was really cocaine. The teacher took her aside and chided her, saying that creating imitation drugs could get you expelled.

I have a younger brother currently in the same school system. Since my days, they've changed the rule to allow girls to carry over-the-counter meds for cramps.

Why did the parents agree to a closed door session, when they could have demanded to allow the media to participate?

Did the school board tell them what their options were? A lot of the time parents don't know what their rights and options are. The school board brings with it intimidating authority and does what it pleases, unless told otherwise.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:44 PM on December 5, 2003

...you had to bring in a supply with a note from your doctor or parent and leave [the OTC medication] in the nurse's office...

Same for prescription drugs -- you had to leave them in the nurse's office. No fucking way:

1. If I have an asthma attack or an anaphylactic shock, I didn't have the time to wait for someone to page the nurse, the nurse to unlock the drugs, walk to my classroom, administer the drugs, etc. My sister is currently carrying her inhalor around, risking expulsion every day that she does.

2. When I was in secondary school, the nurse split her time between two different schools. Now the nurses split their time between several. If you're not the lucky school when you have an asthma attack and your medication is locked away, isn't that more of a liability than you just self-administering?

I think a parent and their child's doctor should be able to sign a waiver stating that the parent accepts responsibility and that their child has been counseled on how to self-medicate.
posted by jennak at 10:01 PM on December 5, 2003

I'm hoping like hell that this sort of lunacy exists only in the United States, and not in Canada, because it's simply nucking futs.

This is yet another example supporting Michael Moore's thesis that America's problems with violence stem from a deep-seated fear of the bogie man. There's no sane reason to ban advil, let alone expel a student for having it: the only explanation is that fear is running rampant.

Same goes for the no hats/no sunglasses lunacy at the bank. If any of my banks ever instituted such an asinine policy, I'd have my account closed that very same day.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:16 PM on December 5, 2003

Thank the christmonkey I wasn't born 25 years later than I was. I'd be in a fuckin' institution.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:00 AM on December 6, 2003

We had the same policy -- all drugs stayed in the nurse's office. Pretty ridiculous, really, and in addition to the safety concerns, a waste of time -- and, of course, downright impossible to do anything if you're not on a regular pill regimen but just happen to have a headache.
posted by dagnyscott at 9:32 AM on December 6, 2003

When I was in school, back in the day, all prescription drugs that had to be taken during the day had to be kept in the school nurse's office. I don't remember anything about aspirin or other OTC medications. I don't think anyone got in trouble for having them. Of course this was before zero-tolerance, so.

They did try to keep caffeine out of our hands by turning off the pop machines outside the cafeteria during the lunch hours. The pop machines in the gym locker rooms were kept on all day, so anyone really craving a pop would just go into the locker room during passing period and get one. Although the gym teachers would get mad if they caught you, since you weren't supposed to be in the locker room if you weren't changing for gym class.

I am just very, very glad I am not in high school these days.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:30 PM on December 6, 2003

Zero tolerance policies are one of the many reasons I plan to keep my kids in Montessori schools for as long as I possibly can afford them. At my son's school, they lock the medications up as described by several people above, but this is done so in his classroom and his teacher is the one who does the administering.

One irritating wrinkle is that the state laws governing the subject insist that I write out exactly when the medication is to be administered, meaning that "as needed" was rejected as an instruction for giving him Tylenol. I wonder how this affects things like inhalers - I will have to ask on Monday.
posted by Irontom at 6:12 AM on December 7, 2003

My kids are grown and no longer victims of the public school system. I am really grateful for this because if anything like this ever happened to one of my kids I probably would have wound up in jail. It would have taken a great deal of self control to keep my hands off the throat of a school official spouting zero tolerance garbage at me. Unfortunately, you can't legislate intelligence so we will have to take these cases as they come.
posted by waltb555 at 8:49 AM on December 8, 2003

Chanther --


knowledge is power. a huge part of what we do is simply let parents know that the school board must postpone the hearing until the student has representation. the school board sends a lawyer to represent the school and the board has its own representative there to serve as arbiter. most students are lucky if they have a parent able to take the time off from work to go to the hearing with them. and it's extraordinary the difference in outcome if the student has a representative there. i don't necessarily believe that the school board is railroading the unrepresented kids, but they hear an enormous caseload and they don't bother to slow down and pay attention to both sides of the story when the student has no representative.

*every* single lawyer in america should be required to give some amount of appreciable pro bono work each year to retain the license to practice. i personally think the amount should be calculated based upon your annual salary as an attorney. might get the legal profession back down to a rational size and a reasonable ethos.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:01 AM on December 8, 2003

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