State says school went too far in giving child detention over Jolly Rancher

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by Tiffany Craig / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on May 7, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:37 AM

HOUSTON -- A week of detention for a 10-year-old caught with a Jolly Rancher at school ended on a sweet note Friday after the state said the school went too far.

Leighann Adair has a sweet tooth but what happened a school this week, left a bad taste in her mouth. The Brazos Elementary third grader was about to eat a piece of candy, but it was taken away.

Jack Ellis, the superintendent for the Brazos Independent School District, said the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned “minimal nutrition” foods.

So that single Jolly Rancher led to detention, which separated her from other classmates at lunch and at recess.

Her parents called the punishment ridiculous.

“I don’t think they treated her fairly. I think the punishment was definitely exaggerated and they should have to apologize to her,” says Amber Brazda, Leighann’s mother.

School officials say they were following state law and were concerned about losing funding.

In a letter to the school system Friday, the Texas Department of Agriculture wrote, “This particular incidence of candy possession as it has been reported by KHOU-TV would not be considered a violation of the state or federal nutrition program and therefore would not have jeopardized your district’s food service funding.”

You can read the entire letter from the Texas Department of Agriculture by clicking here
.

Leighann’s dad, Michael Brazda, is happy that someone sees his point of view.

“I was glad. I was actually happy that something was coming about it. I was starting to wonder if I would get anything accomplished,” he said.

The detention is now over for the 10-year old and her mom says a valuable lesson was learned.

“If you feel that you’re in the right and they’re wrong and in your heart you know you’re right, then you have to fight for what you believe in,” Amber Brazda said.
 
The Agriculture Department also says that the nutrition policy is intended to improve the health of Texas youth, not prohibit sharing a little candy.

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