A junior high honor student was suspended Tuesday for a day after bringing a bottle of the nonprescription painkiller Advil to school in her backpack, officials said.
The painkiller was found by a drug-sniffing dog going through students' belongings during gym class. A spokeswoman for the Humble Independent School District just north of Houston said the district's policy requires students to give all drugs, prescription or nonprescription, to the school nurse who then dispenses them.
"I think the punishment is way too severe. All my grades are going to be affected by this," the student, Brooke Olson, said after her suspension at Kingwood Middle School. Olson, an honor student and student council member, told reporters that she knew about the district policy but had forgotten she was carrying the Advil.
School district officials said the policy was part of their effort to stamp out drug use and protect students. School policy requires all medicines be brought in by parents and given to the nurse, who dispenses them to students, schools spokeswoman Karen Collier said.
School Principal Steve Busch said Advil was just the tip of a potentially lethal drug iceberg.
"You go to a grocery store and there's a wide range of over-the-counter medications that can have lethal effects on students. So, it's easy to minimize this and say, well, it's just pain medication. But it's a little more serious than that," he told reporters.
The suspended student's mother, Deborah Olson, responded: "I can see where we have to control drugs, and I support that. But this was an innocent bottle of Advil."
"It's unfair," Deborah Olson said of her daughter's punishment. "This was nothing more than a mistake."
Last week, a 14-year-old Ohio student was suspended for 4 1/2 months for giving another student a Midol tablet for relief of menstrual cramps, but the student was allowed to return to class Tuesday after the incident received wide attention. She has filed a lawsuit against the school over her treatment.