5 suspended after school drug search

October 04, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

Five Boonsboro High School students were suspended Friday and at least three of them were charged by the Washington County Sheriff's Department after a canine unit patrolled the school's parking lot, school officials and police said.

Washington County high schools are patrolled by a drug-sniffing dog one to four times a school year, Board of Education spokeswoman Carol Mowen and Boonsboro High Principal Richard Akers said. The dog usually doesn't find anything, Akers said.

Having the police dog patrol the schools can deter students from bringing contraband onto school property, Akers said.

The school was locked down for an hour and 15 minutes Friday morning, meaning students couldn't leave their classrooms, Akers and Mowen said. The lock-down is a safety precaution because of having the dog on school property, Akers said.


Akers said five students were found to have contraband. Some students had suspected marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia and one student had alcohol, Akers said.

Sgt. Tim Baker said at least three Boonsboro students were charged. Information on the other two was not available Friday.

A 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy were charged with possession of marijuana, Baker said.

After police left the school, school officials called them back for another student, Baker said. A 17-year-old male was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia (a pipe), and underage possession of tobacco. It is illegal for people younger than 18 to possess tobacco products.

All three were released to their parents' custody, Baker said.

Akers said the students will be suspended for three to five days to give them a chance to meet with Washington County Health Department officials. The students will go through an educational and counseling session with the health department to determine if they need more counseling.

Administrators know when the police dog patrols will be, but students and many staff members do not, school officials said.

The experience gives school officials and students a chance to practice their lock-down procedures, Mowen said.

Middle schools also are patrolled by a drug dog, but not as often, Mowen said. She could not say whether an elementary school had ever been patrolled by a drug dog or whether that would occur in the future.

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