Settlement reached with Mustang School student suspended for prescription drugs

Wednesday, January 12th 2005, 10:55 am
By: News On 6

MUSTANG, Okla. (AP) _ Suspension records will be expunged for a 14-year-old girl who was removed from Mustang Middle School for possession of prescription drugs.

Chloe Smith was suspended for a year after a drug-sniffing dog found prescription hormones in her locker on Dec. 3. School officials later reduced the suspension to five days.

The American Civil Liberties Union appealed her suspension to school administrators and were preparing to appeal to the school board when the settlement was offered.

``The school has been implementing a zero-tolerance policy, but doesn't have a zero-tolerance policy,'' ACLU attorney Tina Izadi said Tuesday.

School attorney Phyllis Walta said Tuesday the district has a policy that requires all prescription drugs to be checked in at the school office.

``It has never been a zero-tolerance policy,'' Walta said. ``Under the current policy, they (school administrators) have discretion.''

Walta said she would be offering an in-service training session on the policy to all school administrators.

Nancy Smith, Chloe's mother, said she was relieved that a settlement was reached.

``I just wanted to get my daughter taken care of,'' she said.

``I just didn't expect her to be treated like a drug abuser.''

Smith said she was shocked to learn that the school district didn't have a zero-tolerance drug policy.

``They applied the policy the way they wanted to apply the policy, not the way the policy was written or intended,'' she said.

``They told me they had no choice but to suspend her under their drug policy.''

Walta said the in-service session should help clarify the district's policy.

``The policy is fine,'' she said. ``They (administrators) have an option. Their hands are not tied.''