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MJHS students admit cocaine use
Jan 14, 2005 12:00 am
Three teenage students at Mt. Juliet High School are expected to face charges for alleged cocaine use at the school Wednesday after their peers complained they were not "acting right," an official says.
The three – described by officials only as 14- and 15-year-olds – were taken to an area hospital for examination after admitting to cocaine use at school, authorities said.
Sheriff Terry Ashe said each of the three are expected to face charges after School Resource Officer Amy Kubick inquired into allegations they were using cocaine at school.
"We recovered only a small amount of residue, but through our narcotics unit's field tests it came back positive for cocaine," Ashe said.
He said authorities plan to file juvenile court petitions against the three charging them with public intoxication.
"I just don't think there's going to be enough physical evidence there to file any type of decent possession charge against them, but we will probably file paraphernalia charges against one of them," Ashe said.
The sheriff said the three were noticed by other students who told officials "they weren't acting right," leading to Kubick's inquiry.
The students apparently spent at least part of the school day snorting the illicit power in a school restroom, Ashe said.
"They admitted to the officer when they were questioned about it that it was cocaine," Ashe said.
He said none of three appeared to be physically harmed and described their trip to the hospital as a precaution.
"We just felt like it would be prudent to get them checked out first thing," he said.
In addition to the cocaine, officials recovered a small quantity of pills from one of the students though it remained unclear if they were illegal drugs, Ashe said.
"The pills are still unidentified, we don't know what they are, but if they're found to be illegal it could lead to some additional charges," he said.
Ashe said school officials have already suspended the students and referred additional questions to MJHS administrators.
Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan confirmed students are immediately suspended from school if they are found to have drugs or illegal substances on the campus.
"They will be sent to a disciplinary committee for a hearing," Duncan said late Wednesday night. "If the facts are that it was a drug or illegal substance, it comes under the zero tolerance guidelines."
The zero tolerance policy equals a full-year suspension from school, he said.
The three-member disciplinary committee, however, has the authority to lessen the sentence. The committee can send the students to MAP Academy, the Wilson County School Systems alternative-style school, for a full year instead of the systemwide suspension.
"The disciplinary committee will make that decision based on the information presented to them by the school," Duncan said. "And the school will continue to investigate and hopefully find the source of the drugs … If they find another student is involved, they will go after them as well."
A disciplinary hearing is set for next week. The committee is comprised of chairman and MAP Academy Principal Rick Miller and two other school administrators. But the two other educators will not be from Mt. Juliet High School since they will be presenting evidence against the students.
If the students' parents are dissatisfied with the ruling, they can appeal to Duncan, who has the final decision.
Night News Editor J.K. Devine contributed to this story.
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.