Take Note: A little sipping; A lot of slipping

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Carter Loar, a 17-year-old high school senior in Loudoun County, Va., may be the only student ever suspended for freshening his breath in class.

Carter had a romantic interest in a student in his English class and thought a swig of mouthwash would help him get a date with his Park View High School classmate.

But what Carter got was a 10-day suspension, including three days at a substance-abuse education class for violating a Loudoun County school district policy that prohibits students from bringing to school any liquid that contains alcohol.

School officials said the teenager bragged to friends that the Cool Mint Listerine mouthwash in his jacket pocket contained 22 percent alcohol.

"If you look at the bottle of mouthwash, it has more alcohol than beer," Terrence W. Hill, the director of secondary education for the Loudoun County district, said in an interview last week. "If a child is eating something or drinking something to get high, then there is a problem."

But the boy's parents objected to the suspension and appealed it in court.

"It's not like he took a gun to school," Carter's mother, LeJuan Loar, said in news reports. "It was an oral-hygiene product."

Last week, a Virginia circuit court judge agreed, granting an injunction that allows Carter to return to class.

If you thought food fights could be confined to the cafeteria, school officials in Meadville, Pa., suggest you think again.

For years, the highlight of pep rallies at the 800-student Meadville Senior High School has involved food--a pizza-eating contest, for example, or an egg relay. Last month, however, a plan to hit a few athletes in the face with whipped-cream pies got out of hand. Some 200 students stormed from the gym bleachers, grabbed cans of whipped cream, and a chaotic battle ensued.

The students seemed to have great fun, reported Carol A. Templeton, an assistant principal, but the coconut oil in the whipped cream left the gym floor so slick that the varsity boys basketball game scheduled for that night had to be delayed.

School officials handed down no punishments, but said they suspect students planned the cream fight.

"It can happen anywhere to anybody," Ms. Templeton said. "I don't think anybody ever realized that the kids can turn on you like that."

--Jessica Portner & Drew Lindsay

Vol. 14, Issue 23

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