Mother says child was ordered to chew
someone else's used gum
by Associated Press, The Arizona Republic, April 12, 2001
COLORADO CITY - A mother says her daughter was sent home from school for refusing to chew someone else's old gum as punishment for chewing gum in her sixth-grade class.
Lenore Holm said Justine Knudson, was sent home Tuesday, said her teacher told her to spit her gum into a jar containing pieces of gum chewed by other students.
She then was asked to withdraw another student's old piece of gum and chew it, her mother said.
"That really does concern me," said Holm. "I wouldn't want her to bring home those germs because I have three babies at home."
RuthAnn Adams, director of health promotion for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, said chewing another person's gum, even if it has dried with time, can lead to the spread of many bacteria-related illnesses.
Justine returned to school that afternoon but was asked to apologize to the teacher for refusing to take the punishment.
Kimball Barlow, principal of the junior high portion of the Colorado City School, referred questions to Superintendent Alvin Barlow, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Mike File, superintendent of Mohave County Schools, said he did not have jurisdiction over discipline policies of local districts.
Patty Likens, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Education, said state officials also avoid getting involved in the discipline practices of districts.
Holm said she plans to file a complaint with File.