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8-year-old Tenn. girl suspended from school 7 times for body odor

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An 8-year-old Tennessee girl has missed 24 days of school so far this year, all because she keeps getting sent home because of her foul odor.

The second-grader's mother, Krystal Hensley, told WJHL that officials at the unidentified Washington County school continue to send her daughter home.

"They just say it's a foul odor," Ms. Hensley said. "She takes a bath every day, but they ask her when the last time she took a bath was and she don't remember. She's been to the doctor and it's not a medical problem. They send her home at least once a month. You go to school to learn, not to be sent home."

The issue has become a major problem for the girl's teachers and fellow students as well.

"We have made repeated attempts to address a foul odor that [the girl] has been [emitting]," the first suspension notice provided to the station. "This is not being resolved. Other students and teachers are complaining, saying that they can not focus on school activities. We are taking this action because this is disruptive to the school program. If corrective measures are not taken then suspensions will continue."

The student was suspended two more times in October, twice in December, once in February and then again last week, WJHL reports. The school system listed a variety of reasons why: "Did not bathe yesterday or today, Could not remember the last time she took a bath, and sleeps in clothes."

Ron Dykes, Washington County director of schools, would not talk about the specific case, but he said that a child is sent home only in "rare" situations when a family refuses to use proper hygiene.

"In those cases, they are very extreme and to be quite frank the odor is so overpowering and extremely offensive to other children and adults so some sort of home bound program is used or the child will be removed temporarily from the school until the family complies," Mr. Dykes told WJHL.

The girl's mother says the Department of Children Services did investigate at one point, but DCS Communications Director Molly Sudderth said the agency has since closed the case.

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