In October, Dominika Borsos, a sophomore high school student, who by all accounts was well respected by her peers and teachers, made a very bad decision. As an honor roll student, without discipline problems or any missed days of school, giving hydrocodone to a classmate didn't sound like something she would do. But she did.
Borsos was listening to this student tell her about the hydrocodone she takes for pain. Dominika mentioned that her mom takes hydrocodone for pain too. Within a few weeks, the student told Borsos she was running out of pain medication and asked her if she would bring her one of her mother's pills. Borsos refused.
A few weeks later, as Dominika was getting ready for school, her friend called saying she was in horrible pain and didn't have any more pain pills. "Would she please bring in two of her mother's pills?" At first Borsos refused, but her friend called again and again pleading with her. Unbeknownst to her mother, Borsos took two pills, a hydrocodone for pain, and a promethazine for nausea, put them in a baggie and brought them to school.
Of course, Dominika was caught on camera giving her fellow student the pills. Her school has a zero-tolerance policy on drugs. No drugs, anywhere, anytime. School officials claim she intended to sell and distribute hydrocodone. The next day, a county deputy handcuffed her, put her in his squad car, took her to a juvenile detention center and fingerprinted her. Her charges are possession of a narcotic with intent to sell and distribute.
This happened on a Friday, and as luck would have it, there was no available judge until Monday morning. That meant Borsos spent three nights in "juvie." Monday morning she was released to her parents' custody and ordered to wear a monitoring device on her ankle for thirty days. In addition, she is suspended from all school activities, on and off campus.
Ok, here's the thing. Yes, Dominika made some VERY bad decisions that morning. She took pills from her mother without her knowledge, brought them to school, and gave them to a fellow student. I really don't think she was going to sell them to her friend. Does charging and detaining a student, without a previous record, really make sense in this case? She certainly doesn't sound like the local drug dealer. A suspension from school absolutely; no school activities, certainly. But to be held for three nights in a detention center and charged with that kind of offense seems over the top to me.
What happens to my senior if she takes medication to school for her Migraines and one of her friends asks she for some? What if she knows that this friend also suffers from Migraine disease, also knows her doctor and mother give her the same medication for her Migraine pain? Does she get charged with intent to sell and placed in a detention center?
Are we kidding ourselves thinking that kids don't share medications for Migraine and headaches? Zero-tolerance, absolutely. But let's be realistic in how we treat each case. When the kid who sells and smokes marijuana every day gets caught should his charges be the same as the kid who helps her friend with Advil? I think not. Each case needs to be handled on a case by case basis. These are, after all, our children, whose brains are not fully developed yet and commonly make errors in judgement. They do deserve a second chance, don't they?