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Kids Told to Pop 'Pills' When Stressed

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Is this okay?


Standardized tests can be stressful. To ease students' tension, two fourth-grade teachers at Westchase Elementary School in Florida provided students with prescription pill bottles full of mints -- and encouraged them to pop one when they felt stressed.

Sandy Young, whose grandson is in the class, immediately questioned the teacher.

"She said it was nothing but some mints; it was just something special for the kids, for the FCAT to mellow them out," Young told

Young said the bottle reads in part: "Watson's Whiz Kid Pharmacy. Take 1 tablet by mouth EVERY 5 MINUTES to cure FCAT jitters. Repeated use may cause craft to spontaneously ooze from pores. No refills. Ms. (Deborah) Falcon's authorization required."

After Young complained, the students were asked to dump the mints in a separate container and the pill bottles were thrown away.

What would you do if your kid was given mints in a prescription bottle? Is this a big deal ... or no biggie?

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Angela February 9, 2010, 1:13 PM

I don’t see where it’s a big deal. Fourth graders are old enough to know the difference between real and pretend. I can’t imagine that any kid will have drug problems later on because of this.

Danielle February 9, 2010, 2:03 PM

Wow I would be soo upset! Perscription bottles are so not the place to put mints into!

adelaide dancing February 9, 2010, 2:22 PM

definitely a big deal, you’re basically encouraging them to look for a quick fix whenever they have a problem, dealing with the symptom instead of the cause which in the long run is not healthy

Kiwi February 9, 2010, 3:09 PM

Stress and depresion have meanings that no chemisty can solve. Pills drugs is playing with a really random futur, really far from the target of the problem.

Nicci February 9, 2010, 6:12 PM

What they’re not saying in this article is that the pill bottles were in reference was to a book they had just finished reading in the class. While I don’t think the pill bottles where a good idea, these teachers are good creative teachers who made one mistake and shouldn’t be vilified for it.

musicchick2 February 9, 2010, 9:32 PM

Ditto Adelaide Dancing’s comment. Not a good precedent to set, telling kids to pop a “pill” whenever they feel stressed. Bad choice, teacher.

chris February 10, 2010, 8:27 AM

I don’t see anything wrong with teaching our children that young to start relying on pills to end stress. NOT! I’m in my forties and I’m amazed at the number of people I know who rely on pills for their stress. When I went to the doctors for signs of perimanipause (stress & anxiety) my doctor first tried to give me zoloft (whick I said no to) then when I went back for a follow up appt 4 weeks later, he tried to then give me prozac (again I said no). Now I try and excerise everyday and that helps a lot to relieve stress. When I asked the doctor if he could give me any “natural” suggestions he had none to offer. I found it horrible that today we expect to pop a pill for this or that and everything will be okay.

deaddrift February 10, 2010, 10:03 PM

Adelaide has the right of it. This is an abysmally bad idea and encourages young children to see negative emotions as being best controlled by medication. I am disgusted that this behavior is OK while the principal was fired last week for a joke email.

karen February 12, 2010, 8:56 AM

“A PIL FOR EVERY ILL” mentality!
A very destructive message to send kids…wake up people.


This mentality is being perpetrated by manay therapist, doctors and Big Pharma & is destroying our children, our youth and our society!

Kiwi February 16, 2010, 12:29 AM

The conversation turned into an interesting point; I put a second comment. About global mental illness, this is a cultural way of thinking that must be stoped imho, because it is just set peopple in mental slavery. Depression seems to me a excellent reaction to iniquity with see nowaday thru our windows. Larving skyzophrenia or depression, the last one don’t handicap has much intelect.

purpleviolet February 17, 2010, 12:03 PM

The real question here is why are children and teachers being stressed out over a test? The situation in Florida with the FCAT is completely out of hand. The kids are being denied recess and PE and have too much homework.
On the other hand, Chris, please do not judge people who take medication. You do what is right for you and let other people alone, please.

Kiwi February 17, 2010, 4:47 PM

I’m agree with purpleviolet on the idea “have too much homework.” It can be a cause of problem. Education rythms are based on an hypothese about human brain capacity that is never analysed. I mean, childs are stuffed of knowledge before they can choose what’s wrong or right and, look in to your memory, are we able to use more than 1/3 of what we learned at school ? Know, Understand and realize are three step of a process; current education system is maybe too quick while children get comon sense younger nowaday, maybe a proportion problem hidden in teenage rebelion. Who know n_n.

Sarah April 22, 2010, 5:10 PM

Give me a break. That was a great idea. Creative and fun. I remember as a kid “smoking” candy cigarettes, yet I never picked up the first real cigarette in my life. I think some things are taken way out of hand these days. Some people need to relax and enjoy life.

Leanora Gouveia March 28, 2011, 5:40 AM

Very well written story. It will be useful to anyone who utilizes it, as well as myself. Keep up the good work - looking forward to more posts.

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