Six students face penalties for drug possession

Thursday, March 24, 2005

GREEN FOREST ---- None of the students who were found to be in possession of prescription drugs on school grounds will be returning to classes the remainder of this school year.

All were either suspended or expelled during a special school board meeting Thursday evening.

Five of the six who faced expulsion were special education students.

A manifest hearing was held for each special ed student prior to the school board meeting, with results and recommendations from those hearings presented to the board.

Two of the six students reportedly brought prescription drugs to school. The remainder were in possession after the drugs were distributed.

Some of the students chose to have open hearings Thursday evening, with the media and others present, while some preferred closed hearings.

All but one of the students were present with a parent at their side.

The results from the manifest hearings, where a functional assessment analysis was conducted, showed that the special education students involved did not have a disability that would impair them from knowing right from wrong.

All were suspended for the remainder of the school year. The lone student who was not classified as special ed, was expelled for the remainder of the year.

The difference in punishment, explained Special Education Supervisor Stephanie Simpson, is that special education students can only be expelled for harsh infractions, such as handgun possession.

Suspended students can transfer to other schools but those who are expelled will not be accepted.

"All school districts have agreed not to accept expelled students, but they can accept those who are suspended," she explained.

One of the students was accused of selling a prescription drug to another for $1. She disputed the charge, saying she gave it away, then later asked the recipient to give her $1 so she could purchase a soda.

The drugs were Hydrocodone, a generic form of Vicodin; and, Concerta, a form of Ritalin.

Local police say they will refer the matter to juvenile authorities.

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