Four students were suspended from a high school in Pekin Illinois, this week for eating “energy mints” on school campus.
According to Today, the students were suspended because the school suspected that they were using drugs. Eric McMichael, 17, and Bradley Malcom, 14, and two other students were brought into the dean’s office after they were seen taking small white pills.
Jason McMichael, one of the student’s father, said:
“This is going to affect them for the rest of their lives … It will be on their high school transcripts. This could affect college, future jobs. Their reputations are down the tubes, so I want this wiped off their records.”
The school eventually determined that the students were taking energy mints but still stuck by their decision to suspend the students.
The school said in a statement:
“Pekin Community High School approaches the consumption of mood-altering substances very seriously given both the health risks at issue and a mission to keep both illegal and legal drugs and substances out of school. The school has adopted both policies and student handbook provisions which prohibit possession, distribution, and consumption of such substances at school.”
NBC Chicago reports that energy mints have about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee or an energy drink.
Eric McMichael said:
“People bring energy drinks to school every day. I see this every day and we get in trouble for energy mints.”
The energy mints contain about 100 mg of caffeine compared to 200 mg in an energy drink and 55 mg in a can of soda. Still, Dr. David Zich, an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine at Northwestern University, said that caffeine pills can be more dangerous since they are easier to ingest.
“If you want to get a lot of caffeine it’s hard to do with a cup of coffee or an energy drink. You’ll get bloated and too full after two or three drinks and stop. With mints it’s very easy to overdose because you keep on popping them.”
Do you think the students should have been suspended for eating energy mints? Should the school also hand down punishments for drinking coffee or energy drinks?