updated 12/21/2007 7:57:00 PM ET 2007-12-22T00:57:00

A school district suspended a 12-year-old for having a piece of chocolate candy filled with a half-ounce of booze.

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The unidentified seventh-grader was sent home from Alta Loma Junior High School three days before the winter break after a friend gave her a vodka-filled, foil-wrapped candy in the hall on her way to class Wednesday, her mother told the Ontario Daily Bulletin.

Another student apparently saw the girl get the candy and told school officials.

She cannot return until Jan. 7, and then she must adhere to a contract between, the student, parent and school that outlines expected behavior.

The girl was disciplined for having "possession, used, sold, furnished or been under the influence of any controlled substance, alcohol or intoxicant," according to her suspension notice.

The girl's mother said officials in the Alta Loma School District overreacted, noting the girl didn't eat the chocolate, which was found in her purse.

"The punishment doesn't fit the crime," the mother said. "They made this an upsetting and dramatic situation that could have been handled a number of different ways."

The girl was disciplined just once before for talking in class, said her mother, whose name was withheld to protect the identity of her daughter.

Mike Whisenand, the district's assistant superintendent of personnel and support services, declined to comment on the girl's suspensions but said any amount of alcohol on campus is against the law.

The State Education Code "says (an) intoxicant of any kind. It doesn't mention flavor, size or quantity," Whisenand said. "Any type of alcohol can be cause of suspension. I certainly wouldn't call it candy."

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