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Trying to Breathe in Texas II

Indiyah Rush, 12, a 7th-grade honor roll student at Schrade Middle School in Garland, Texas, is an asthmatic and dependent on her inhaler. When fellow honor roll student — and fellow asthmatic — Alexis Kyle, 13, had an asthma attack during gym class, but didn’t have her inhaler with her, Rush loaned the girl hers. “They punished her twice,” complained 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 school says according to their zero tolerance drug policy, a 30-day stint at a reform school is the “initial” and “automatic” punishment for “sharing” a “controlled substance” — and asthma inhalers qualify for that classification, along with marijuana, according to district policy. And sure enough, “sharing” goes both ways: Kyle was also suspended and ordered to the alternative school for the outrage of wanting to breathe. “The little girl saved her life,” says Kyle’s step-father, Michael Green. “And the reason we say that [is] because we have been [in] situations where she has been to ICU, so we know how bad her asthma is.” After an outcry, the school relented and let the girls return to school after a week of suspension — but the district says they still stand by their zero tolerance policy. (RC/KDFW Dallas) ...Strict adherence to the rules: still more important than students’ lives.
Original Publication Date: 24 January 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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