Archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2006

6 junior high school students suspended

Officials: Two freshmen confessed they distributed narcotic painkiller to other students

September 13, 2006

Tonganoxie police are investigating two Tonganoxie Junior High students who admitted distributing prescription pills to other students.

Lt. Billy Adcox said it's believed that the students distributed between 50 and 150 pills of the drug hydrocodone, also is known as Vicodin or Lortab.

The two male students, who are freshmen at the school, admitted to police that they distributed hydrocodone, which is a pain-reliever.

The prescription for the hydrocodone had been written for one of the students' relatives, although none of the pills has been recovered, police said.

Based on interviews with students, Adcox said it appears the two students distributed the drug to four other Tonganoxie freshmen.

Although the students admitted to selling some of the pills, they've said not all of the pills were distributed, and they no longer have them.

"We're not for sure on that yet, whether they had given them to someone else," Adcox said.

TJHS principal Steve Woolf said that, through interviews with students, it was thought that someone outside the school district now possesses the drugs.

All six students have been suspended. Woolf declined to comment on how long the suspensions would last. He said that, according to the student handbook, the offense could carry a full year's expulsion from school. But an expulsion committee, consisting of administrators, would make a final decision, Woolf said.

Woolf explained that any student with possession of any drugs -- even their own -- would face some level of suspension.

School policy requires that all medications, prescription or over-the-counter, must be turned into the school nurse, who then distributes the drugs to the student.

"We try to go on the stricter side when we can but need to send a clear message," Woolf said. "I think we will in this situation."

According to Dr. Phil Stevens, the pain-reliever hydrocodone can be habit-forming.

"It's a narcotic," the Tonganoxie physician said. "It's a controlled substance for pain."

Police were tipped off about the drug distribution from a citizen who called Adcox.

"This is the first one we actually heard about and found to be true," Adcox said.

Adcox said the incident still is under investigation. Once the report is finished, it will be sent to the county attorney's office.

For now, the six students will be serving their suspensions.

"They'll deal with the consequences," the junior high school principal said. "It's good they get consequences, but we'll educate them.

"We'll do what we can to get kids back on the right track and get going again."

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