MARATHON, N.Y. – Marathon High School junior Wyatt Hatfield never imagined his daily vitamin C tablet would earn him a three-day suspension.
But the New York teen is now appealing the punishment leveled by school administrators last month after a bus driver found a baggie with vitamins he accidentally left behind in his lunch bag Oct. 13, WBNG reports.
“I found it quite ridiculous that I was being suspended for dietary supplements,” Hatfield said.
Marathon superintendent Rebecca Stone told NYC Central students are required to gain approval from school officials for medications, and all medications must be controlled by the school nurse. She said district policy also strictly prohibits look-alike drugs, but refused to discuss Hatfield’s situation.
“If there is anything that you are consuming as far as a medication, it has to be in the original container,” Stone said, adding that “It’s improper for any school administrator or teacher to talk about any student to other people.”
But Hatfield and his parents, Samantha and Glen, are concerned the alleged drug infraction on his son’s school record could put a kink in Wyatt’s plans to join the U.S. Army after graduation.
“I just don’t feel that something like this should be on my son’s record,” Glen Hatfield said.
The family appealed Wyatt’s suspension to the Marathon Board of Education, but board members rejected their request to rescind the punishment.
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The Hatfields are now taking their case to the state Commissioner of Education, CNY Central reports.
“It’s really getting foolish about what we’re doing to students,” Samantha Hatfield told the news site. “We’re not talking about elementary students, we’re talking about high school.”
Parents sounded off about the incident online.
“I think a warning would have been fair, and educating the parents of the current rules,” Susan Taylor Lindeborn posted to Facebook. “Suspension doesn’t do anyone any good.”
“How pathetic,” Larry Purtell posted. “Have schools lost all common sense?”
“I would say suspension is a little extreme. Why not simply reach out to the parents for a meeting to clear up the whole thing?” Colleen Bullis questioned. “It’s getting just a little ridiculous anymore. I’m dreading what it will be like when my granddaughter is old enough for school. God only knows how craze it will be then!”
“Thank goodness this young thug was caught,” Bill O’Connor joked.
Others alleged there was a lot more to the story than was reported in the media.
“This news story does not give all the details of the situation,” Melissa Fritts Pratt wrote. “It does not say why he was bringing them to school to take at lunch. His father was going to be having or had just had brain surgery to remove a tumor. The doctor recommended to the family that they take these vitamins and supplements to help keep their immune systems up so they would not get sick and get the father sick.”