No good deed goes unpunished. Schrade Middle School in Garland, Texas, suspended a 12-year-old girl for several days—and has placed her in alternative schooling for the next month—because she lent her inhaler to a classmate who was having difficulty breathing.
According to Fox 4 News, Indiyah Rush was in gym class on Tuesday when she noticed another student gasping for air. Rush let her borrow her inhaler, and both girls were promptly escorted to the principal's office:
"I mean they punished her twice," said Monique Rush, Indiyah's mother. "They suspended her on top of sending her to alternative school. I mean how could you do a kid like that?"
The district says 30 days at alternative school is an initial automatic punishment for sharing a controlled substance including prescription drugs like inhalers—until there's a hearing to weigh all the facts. The final punishment could change and range from no days to the maximum of 30 days.
"It's a prescription and one students severity with asthma may not mirror that of the girl who let the other borrow hers and that could have resulted in some pretty significant issues," said Chris Moore, Garland ISD spokesman.
The school district is probably right that Rush shouldn't have shared her inhaler, but who can blame her for wanting to help? That said, there's an easy solution available to the school: just tell Rush not to do it again. That's it. Not every mistake requires a punishment. Sometimes, it's sufficient to correct inappropriate behavior without ruining a child's entire school year.
Unfortunately, Schrade's default course of action is to treat acts of kindness as attempted drug smuggling.