Students kicked out of school for possessing mints

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A US high school has suspended four students who needed a boost of caffeine. After eating mint-flavored caffeine pills, the students were suspected of taking illegal drugs, sent home, and banned from homecoming festivities.

After eating the mints during the lunch break at the Pekin Community High School in Illinois, the four boys were sent home while school officials had the mints tested for illegal substances. After determining they simply contained high doses of caffeine, the school continued to enforce the boys’ suspension.

The school “approaches consumption of mood-altering substances very seriously given both the health risks at issue and a mission to keep both illegal and legal drugs and substances out of school,” officials wrote in a statement.

But the pills contain the same ingredient as coffee, soda and energy drinks — all of which can be found in schools. Caffeine mints contain between 85 and 101 mg of caffeine – often times less than a cup of coffee, which contains 100 mg. Energy drinks are comprised of 76 to 207 mg of caffeine – something more than twice as much as a pill. The Revive tablets, taken by the students, also contain guarana, green tea, ginseng, acai, mangosteen and goji and are endorsed by MMA fighters and fitness pageant contestants.

“People bring energy drinks to school every day” Eric McMichael, one of the students caught eating the mint, told WMBD TV. “I see this every day and we get in trouble for energy mints?”

The students were suspended last Thursday and Friday and were banned from the weekend homecoming festivities. David Johnson, one of the suspended students, expressed concern that the missed classes would cause his grades to go down.

“I don’t feel that I should lose my education over a little mint,” said 17-year-old Jake Walker, who has been sitting at home, wishing to go back to school.

“This is 2012 and caffeine is just caffeine,” the boy’s mother told The TODAY show. “I drink soda, Jake drinks soda. I don’t see anything wrong with a caffeine pill.”

Now that the school knows the boys took no illegal products, officials claim anything suspicious is worthy of being questioned.

The teens displayed “gross misconduct for taking an unknown product,” school officials said. Superintendent Paula Davis said students can be disciplined for “ingesting things that look like unmarked pills.”

The harsh punishment may cause students to opt for cups of coffee in the future.

“Instead of going to homecoming, I was home alone doing nothing, and very upset,” Walker said.