Ten-year-old Leighann Adair came home in tears, terrified to tell her parents she'd been slapped with a week's worth of detention for possessing a contraband substance:
The forbidden fruit: a piece of Jolly Rancher candy.
A teacher at Brazos Elementary School in Wallis, Texas, took the unopened piece of candy away from the third-grader two weeks ago after a friend handed it to her.
Both Leighann and her friend were ordered to serve detention during lunch and recess, and they had to write an essay about what they did and why it was wrong.
"She came home crying," said her mother, Amber Brazda, explaining that Leighann "has never been in trouble before." "It’s an extreme punishment for something so small,” said Leighann’s stepfather Michael Brazda.
"What are they going to do, have candy sniffing dogs next?" her mother said.
But school officials are standing by the punishment. They say they have to be strict in order to enforce their no-gum, no-candy policy. Candy and gum, they say, can cause a mess.
Jack Ellis , superintendent for the Brazos Independent School District, says it's also a matter of following state guidelines to limit the amount of junk food in schools. "Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules," Ellis told KHOU-TV in Houston.
A piece of Jolly Ranchers candy has 23 calories and provides 2 percent of the daily value of carbohydrates. But there's nothing in the rules that compels a school to punish a student for possessing junk food, says Texas Department of Agriculture spokesman Bryan Black.
The department sent a letter to the school reminding staff that state policy doesn’t outline such punishments. "Our policy does not prohibit from sharing a Jolly Rancher with a friend," Black told FOXNews.com.
"If a parent wants to pack candy, it's their decision, not against school policy. A parent needs to decide what a student eats."
So what's stupider here: Considering candy a detentionable offense, or the superintendant claiming they have to follow state rules while the state SecAg says, hey, it's not our rule? Jack Ellis, you KNOW this whole thing is ridiculous or else you'd not be passing your buck off to the state. "Candy and gum can cause a mess." Good Lord, have we stooped to taking even this piece of childhood from our kids?
Jack EllisSuperintendentP. O. Box 819Wallis TX 77485
Quick update on world cup with Deadliest catch just 6 minutes away. Ovechkin bagged another as Russia rolled over Kazakhstan 4-1. Norway, who had not only never beaten the Czechs in 73 years and 18 games of international competition, but the only time they scored more than 2 goals in a game against them was in a 10-4 loss in the 1984 olympics, beat the Czech Republic 3-2 despite 2 goals by Jaromir Jagr and being outshot 45-15. Slovakia came from 2 down to top Belarus 4-2; and the Swedes topped a scrappy French team 3-2. Let's fish!