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Students' fun with helium no lightweight prank


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Students' fun with helium no lightweight prank

Michelle Woo

The Arizona Republic

Sept. 29, 2004 12:00 AM

When two students in Gilbert decided to have some fun with helium balloons, they got more than squeaky giggles.

They got suspended.

Greenfield Junior High Principal Jill Bowers issued five-day suspensions Friday, but later reduced them to one day, according to the father of one of the girls. advertisement

He said his 13-year-old daughter and her friend inhaled the helium in order to "talk funny" while setting up for a school dance.

"If it's such a dangerous substance . . . why weren't they supervised? I think they went a little bit overboard and took the zero-tolerance policy to the extreme," the father said. "The principal needs to use some common sense and judgment."

According to medical experts, the gas can cause sudden acute asphyxia, characterized by fatigue, dizziness, coma and death, if abused.

District spokeswoman Dianne Bowers said that school principals have the option to suspend students pending further investigation.

"Parents need to know that each situation is considered and reviewed individually," Bowers said. "The district looks at surrounding incidents and the student's intent."

Jill Bowers was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon.

District policy prohibits non-medical use of drugs, including inhalants.

The students were back in school Tuesday.


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