Commack girl suspended for bringing peppermint oil to school
The mother of a 10-year-old girl suspended for bringing peppermint oil to her Commack school on Monday says she is considering legal action if school officials don't apologize and revoke her daughter's suspension.
Sara Greiner, 10, a fifth-grade student at John Mandracchia-Sawmill Intermediate School was suspended for one day after bringing organic peppermint oil to school and putting several drops in her water bottle and several classmates' water, said her mother, Corrine Morton-Greiner, 46.
The Commack School District posted a news release on its Web site saying a student was suspended for "bringing, and then distributing bottled peppermint oil to other students."
"Peppermint oil is an unregulated over the counter drug," the release reads.
Morton-Greiner said the oil - which she and her daughter use at home as a soothing remedy to flavor their water - is organic and contains no alcohol. The oil is made by Organic Young Living Essential Oils.
"The insinuation that she was bringing some illicit substance to school is infuriating," Morton-Greiner said. "She's just a little girl who brought peppermint oil to school."
"We are astounded at the way that this situation was handled," she added. "It's completely unacceptable to us . . . We're not going to have our reputation and our daughter's reputation tainted in this way."
Commack Superintendent James Feltman defended the school's actions and said Sara was given a one-day in-school suspension. Her mother chose to keep her at home instead, he said. He said the parent could appeal the decision but that school officials would not be expunging the suspension or apologizing for the actions taken.
"This was a violation of our code of conduct, there's no question about that," Feltman said. "It's uncontested that the child brought an over-the-counter substance to the school. It's uncontested that she gave it to other children. We teach children from kindergarten not to do that. The reason is you may not know what allergies and what kind of problems other people have."
Feltman said the label on the bottle stated very clearly that it should be kept out the reach of children. "The label says 'caution, keep out of the reach of children,' " he said. "Nothing could be plainer. And a 10-year-old can read that."