Girl suspended for bringing peppermint oil to school

December 22, 2009 3:37:24 PM PST
A 10-year-old girl on Long Island was suspended for taking peppermint oil to school. The girl's mother says the punishment is outrageous and is demanding an apology.

Sara Greiner's school day was spent not in the classroom, but in her living room.

The 10-year-old, fifth grader was suspended after sharing what she says was a couple of drops of peppermint oil with two of her fellow students.

"I told them it was just peppermint. You could put it in your water. They asked me for some, and I gave it to them," says Sara.

That seemingly innocent act was noticed by a teacher's assistant at John Mandracchia-Sawmill Intermediate School and Sara was sent to the principal's office.

A letter was sent to Sara's mom informing her of the one day suspension.

"She did nothing wrong, there was no misconduct here," said Corrine Morton-Greiner, Sara's mom.

After talking with school officials, Morton-Greiner chose to have daughter serve her suspension at home but strongly feels it is not deserved.

"She needed to be explained to that it's not something that she should bring in and I don't object to the principal having her in her office. What I do object to is the principal stating to me that there has to be a consequence," said Morton-Greiner.

School officials did not respond to a request to discuss the issue, but did say in a letter to Sara's parents," Such inappropriate and unacceptable behavior cannot and will not be tolerated."

Sara, who sometimes uses the oil at home, brought it to school without her mother's knowledge.

"No one ever told me that peppermint oil was illegal," adds Sara.

Corrine says school officials were worried about children being allergic to the oil.

"If a child offers a quarter of their peanut and jelly sandwich to another student is that student going to be suspended? Where do we draw the line? It's getting to be ridiculous and I will not have my child treated this way," adds the mom.

She now plans to pursue this issue to see that the suspension does not remain on her daughter's school record.