A teenage girl was caught popping a pill during her lunch break at school in Fairfax, Virginia. Your initial though may have been that the pill was
Vicodin or Xanax. Fortunately, if you thought that you were wrong. She was taking her birth control pill. While it was certainly responsible to be taking a birth control pill, it was against the school’s rules to take, let alone have pills on school grounds without them being registered with the school nurse and kept in their office.
This rule is an effect of the zero- tolerance that schools have for drugs within the school. It does not matter whether they were are over the counter drugs such as Tylenol, pretend drugs, prescribed, or illegal drugs the punishment for possession on school grounds is all the same. Actually the punishment mirrors that of having a handgun on school grounds. Well at least it does in the Fairfax school district, according to their school handbook; however if she had been high on marijuana or worst heroin that would have only been a 5 day suspension. So you can come to school already high but just don’t do it at school, that’s the message kids! The Fairfax school district is sending the wrong messages to their students, there holding the students that are clearly addicted to illegal substances at higher standards than students who ”may” be taking them in school.
The Fairfax school board have debated many times on whether to allow students to carry Tylenol or other over the counter medicines without having to go through the process of registering them with the school nurse. On the bright side students can carry cough drops and not face expulsion, but they better not share them or it’s a 2 week suspension. This has to be the most absurd thing I have ever heard. How many times has a student or even a teacher asked you if you had a cough drop to share or maybe some IBProfien? Many times I am sure. So know it’s not ok to share, is this not the first thing you learned in school?
The health advocates within the community deem that the harsh penalties for students who take birth control pills at school as a huge conflict with the campaign against teen pregnancy. Deb Hauser of Advocates for Youth, a District-based organization that focuses on adolescent sexual health, said, “To put birth control in the same category as illegal drugs or handguns stigmatizes responsible behavior.” What type of message are we sending to our youth about teen pregnancy and sexual education? It is bad enough in the past most schools were forced to turn a blind eye to the rising numbers of students admitting to being sexually active by just promoting “abstinence only” programs in school; know schools are trying to control what outside industries are offering to keep our youth safe from the consequences of having unprotected sex.
To sum it up, the school board says they can never be sure what students are taking. They claim they don’t know the difference between a birth control pill and a Xanax. I say that’s not true, you can tell the difference if you take the time to look rather than just suspending students. Students should have the right to privacy when it comes to their sexual activities, and that includes not announcing to the entire school’s administration that they are taking birth control pills. It is a personal matter and should stay that way. Furthermore, they should be supported by the school for practicing safe sex and lowering the number of teenage pregnancies not penalized. The student, who wished to remain nameless, will soon face a trial on whether she should be expulsed or not. This is completely unnecessary. If you have to suspend her for “technically: breaking the rules, fine. However, it should not have been 2 weeks and nor should an Honor student and lettered athlete be up for expulsion. This is where members of the board and school jump in and say this is a waste of individual’s time, and we will move on the real offenders of their drug policies. I honestly cannot believe they are wasting so much time on a student using birth control and treating her as if she was using heroin, and I am appalled at the message they are sending about birth control. I understand they want to stop drug use within school but do the leg work to actually fund out whose using drugs and whose trying to cure a headache or prevent a pregnancy, rather than dump them under the whole rule; society and the law can why can’t school districts do the same. Ultimately this will scare students into not using birth control and the number of teenage pregnancies in their area I’m sure will just rise.