Students face drug counts
November 22, 2006
The authorities busted four Treasure Mountain International School students on drug counts, accusing the teen-agers of either using or possessing marijuana, in a case that the school’s principal says is not a shock.
Rick Ryan, a Park City Police Department lieutenant, says the case occurred at about 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 14 when the principal, Bob O’Connor, discovered them. O’Connor says he believes all of the teens are eighth-graders at the school.
Ryan says all of the teens were referred to juvenile court. He did not release their names because they are minors. The four are:
( A 13-year-old boy who faces a count of possession and consumption of marijuana.
( A 14-year-old boy facing a count of possession and consumption of marijuana.
( A 14-year-old boy who faces counts of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Ryan says the authorities found the boy with a pipe.
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( A 14-year-old boy facing a count of marijuana possession.
O’Connor says he discovered one of the students wearing lots of cologne, which he says is unusual. The student appeared to be under the influence and was not in a classroom when students typically are in class, the principal says.
"It’s not the first time an eighth-grader or junior-high or middle-school student begins to experiment," O’Connor says.
He says the two students facing consumption counts admitted to him that they smoked marijuana. They told O’Connor that they smoked on wetlands behind the school, he says.
Ryan says O’Connor stopped the 13-year-old in a hallway at the school. The boy admitted smoking marijuana and told the principal that the three others were involved, Ryan says. O’Connor tracked down the others, including one who Ryan says was found lying on the floor of a school bathroom.
O’Connor detained them in his office, interviewed them and called the police, Ryan says. The Police Department contacted their parents and told them they were referred to juvenile court.
An initial police report did not indicate where the students got the marijuana, Ryan says. He says they had a small amount.
"Certainly the age is concerning. The fact that we have students sharing drugs at school is concerning," Ryan says, acknowledging that the students are "real young" to be found with marijuana.
Lots of the anti-drug efforts by school officials and the authorities are aimed at Park City High School, where parents have also worked to promote programs to keep drugs out of the school. It is rare that middle-school students are found with narcotics in Park City. Ryan admits that he was not surprised, though.
Treasure Mountain houses students in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades.
David Chaplin, the president of the Park City School Board, says promoting a healthy lifestyle is important to the schools.
"Of course it’s a tragedy that kids that age have access, if they do," Chaplin says.
The Police Department operates an anti-drug program at the school called Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known by its acronym, D.A.R.E. Ryan says the program teaches students how to handle peer pressure and avoid drugs.
O’Connor says all eighth-graders at the school are required to complete a health class that teaches them about drug abuse and the consequences. In the class, they are taught how to refuse drugs, he says.
The principal worries that the case could damage the school’s reputation.
"Whether it’s one kid or 10 kids, it’s a problem," O’Connor says.
Lisa Giordano, the co-president of the parent-teacher-student organization at the school, says a larger presence by the authorities at the school could prevent another case.
"I would just like to see non-scheduled, random drop-ins by the police," she says, adding, "I would hope it would deter them from thinking they could bring drugs to school and get away with it."