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Galesburg teen suspended for carrying purse at school

A Galesburg mother says the Galesburg High School’s purse ban has gone too far. Her daughter had to attend the school’s In-School Structured Program after...

A Galesburg mother says the Galesburg High School's purse ban has gone too far. Her daughter had to attend the school’s In-School Structured Program after she used a clutch purse to carry feminine products and pencils at school.

Galesburg High School sent notices to students in October 2013 about the purse ban.

“Things like people texting in purses, in class or inappropriate items coming into class;  and so it wasn’t a single incident, it wasn’t even two or three, it was a combination of all those,” said Principal Roy Van Meter said October 18, 2013 about the ban.

“Checking for weapons and checking for drugs and checking for all that, I am in compliance with that all the way, but this was the last straw,” said Carri Harding.

Harding’s 17-year-old daughter was carrying a purple, gold-studded bag with her to class Monday, April 21, 2014.

“She carries her personal feminine napkins in it, hand sanitizing lotion and wipes during her monthly cycle,” said Harding.

Harding says, "that time of the month" was not a valid excuse for carrying the bag in the eyes of the school.

“She didn't even want to go back to school. She loves school,” she said.

Instead, Harding’s daughter got a green slip assigning her to the In-School Structured Program, commonly known as in-school suspension.

“I didn't find it fair.  I thought it was quite degrading actually,” said Harding.

Harding says the school told her daughter she could continue carrying the purse with a doctor’s note saying she had a medical condition.

“Really, a medical condition? I mean, every woman has it every month. It's not a medical condition, it's nature,” said Harding.

We attempted to talk with the Galesburg High School Principal. We were told Principal Roy Van Meter would talk with us, but a few minutes later we were told he was too busy and the school had no comment.

“I just think that, that particular aspect of their policy should be re-looked at and maybe gone about a different way,” said Harding.

So that a clutch purse doesn’t keep her daughter out of class again.

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