Honor Student Suspended for Purchasing Candy

The principal of a New Haven, Connecticut school has decided to wipe out the suspensions of students who were punished for the sale of a bag of candy, the school district announced Wednesday.

Michael Sheridan, an eighth-grade honors student at Sheridan Magnet School, was suspended for one day for buying a bag of candy at school.

He was also barred from attending an honors student dinner and stripped of his title as class vice president.

A school district spokeswoman said Principal Eleanor Turner agreed to expunge the suspensions from Sheridan's record and allow him to resume his student leadership post after meeting with his family and the superintendent

School officials said he was punished because he bought a bag of Skittles for $1 from another student.

Sheridan, 14, said he didn't know buying candy was against school rules, but he said he realized something was strange based on the other student's behavior.

"I didn't know it was really like against board policy, until he was all secretive," Sheridan said. "And it was really weird how secretive he was."

He said he expected to get a warning about the candy, not a suspension.

"I thought I was going to just get like, 'No, that's bad to do. Don't do it again,' not like, suspended," Sheridan said.

The principal originally ordered an immediate three-day suspension, but Sheridan's mother, Shelli, fought to reduce the punishment to one day.

"I'm thinking, you know, he was hungry," she said. "He wanted a piece of candy. So, OK, I didn't think it was such a big deal."

School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo said the New Haven school system banned candy sales and fundraisers in 2003 as part of the district-wide school wellness policy.

No candy sales are allowed in schools, she said.

In a statement, Turner said she should have reinforced the policy to parents in writing.

She apologized, but said her intention was to maintain a safe and orderly environment.

"Letting students carry large sums of money around, letting them buy and sell and eat candy in classrooms, disrupting the instructional day and the risks it poses to students with allergies, are truly hazards," she said.

The student who sold the candy also was suspended. His suspension will also be expunged from his record.