Nine Students Busted Last Week

Heidi Zemach for SCN

Nine students from Seward High School have been caught smoking, or in possession of marijuana on school grounds or within the school’s Drug Free Zone. The first case involved four students, caught by local police during the early part of the second week of school, August 27-31st, said Seward Police Chief Tom Clemons. Then, another five students were caught by police in a separate incident later the same week. All of the cases were turned over to the Juvenile Justice Department for prosecution, and are no longer in the hands of local police department, he said.

Any specifics on the case, or on the punishment that these teens will receive by the courts, will not be made public as they are minors, and their court records will be sealed. But because of the location of the offense, these youngsters may have found themselves in much more trouble than they realized, Clemons explained.

Advertisement

While being in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is generally legal in Alaska, the state’s laws regarding minors using drugs inside its Drug Free Zones are quite harsh. Drug Free Zone’s extend 500 feet beyond a school’s boundaries, and also applies to youth recreation centers and even school buses. A minor found in possession of drugs such as marijuana inside a drug-free zone doesn’t just face a misdemeanor charge, but the drug-free zone location can automatically bump the charge up to the felony level, according to SPD.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District media spokesperson Pegge Erkeneff said the district follows all board of education policies. But she would not confirm that there were any suspensions of high school students in Seward due to federal FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) laws. Rather, she referred those interested in learning more about KPB Board Policy to research the matter themselves, especially BP5030, on School Discipline and Safety, which allows for the suspension of students in violation of various drug policy for up to 45 days.

The police participate in the DARE Program in the schools, and will offer the Junior Police Academy again this year. Despite threats of cutbacks, officer Alan Nichols is still working with students from inside the high school. The recent incidents of minors caught on minor drug charges aren’t anything new for Seward, Clemons said. What’s new however is the number of students involved, at school, within a single week.
>

16 Comments

  1. Expel, prosecute, and convict. If the parents are found to have supplied the item in question( which does happen in Seward) , make an example of them also. If you continue to accept this behavior, it will continue to be a problem in Seward….

  2. Great idea Ben! Kick them out of school! They can stay home and sleep in while their folks work and their peers learn. Wow, smoke pot, make a bad choice and ruin your life!?!?! The school district has a harsh punishment which includes suspension, community service and tuturing and let me GAURANTEE you Ben, they are much better off doing their time, and returning to school then being expelled. I sure hope your parents and teachers had more faith in you then you have in our youth. A 15 year old with a FELONY looming overhead for making a bad choice. The location of the crime is the difference between a misdemeanor VS. Felony…not the crime itself… Ben, is that not harsh enough? Yes, some parents supply it but a majority of the time, it’s not. Even the best of kids, from the best of parents can make bad choices. It’s how the parents deal with their children who make bad choices that makes the difference.

  3. I am not sure what my stand is on this. But, perhaps a lesson learned. I am the last one to shoot comments on parenting. Granted there is some things that run amuck but, thats when we as parents need to be more aware. I made complaints last year on bullying and things. There is pure pressure and nonesense that does happen. I just hope parents step up to the plate to protect our kids. It is up to us to make things right. A felony at a young age is maybe alittle much. I just hope they learn from mistakes at a early age before it grows into a lifetime mess.

  4. Make a example of them so the rest know what will happen. This isn’t the first time for some of them.Homeschooling is a option. Military youth academy is another….maybe if their parents instilled some character and actually parented, rather than tried to be their friend, they won’t be in trouble as much …….

  5. Hmmm. Sounds as though Ben is not a parent. And, not using his full name.

  6. Tammy Casagranda says:

    Kids make mistakes. Thats how they learn. I think a felony for smoking Pot is a little overboard. I would be more worried about teenage drinking and driving.You cant judge all the parents involved.We arent perfect,we do the best we can to make sure our children are safe and make good decisions.

  7. There is a big difference between a crime worthy of harsh punishment and an adolescent lapse in judgement which deserves compassion. The real crime and culprits in my opinion would be the adult(s) who sold or gave the substance to the kids to begin with. Having been in trouble as a juvenile myself and having raised and supported other teens with difficulties it is difficult for me to hold teens entirely responsible when an adult is the likely source. Teens’ brains are still developing and learning good judgement often comes from making mistakes just like these. I see them more as victims, rather than criminals. And like adults, they are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

    • There are way too many ways to get weed in this town. Many parents do allow their children get into their “stash”. It is important to squash those sources. Teenagers need to allow their brains to develop more. Smoking weed does delay that development. What amazes me it the lack of forethought. Why were you smoking on school property… and even more so why were you smoking on school property weeks after your peers were busted?…. Where and who are your role models kids?…

      Mary – I am a parent! I was a lot of trouble when I was young! and I am NOT stating my name!

  8. Heidi

    At least some of these kids have very good, very stern parents, with great moral values, who talk to their kids about drugs. And they’re great kids too, who just made a poor choice. But peer pressure, belief that you won’t get caught, and not knowing the enormity of the consequences of doing this in a drug free zone (which I only just found out writing this) probably played a role. As parents, you can watch your kids while they’re at home, but when they’re out and about, during school hours, or when there’s an open campus? You sometimes just have to hope for the best, and have faith that they’ll grow up and learn to make better choices, just like we did.

  9. Oh, come on. It’s not like they were doing cocaine or meth or snorting oxycontin. It’s weed. It would be worse if they were DRINKING. Now, obviously, it’s pretty stupid for them to be doing it on school property, but let’s be honest here: Kids have been going to class high for the last 40 years. Should they be punished? Absolutely. But is it really that big a deal? Absolutely not. Give ‘em a couple of weeks of in-school suspension, tell them to keep the grass off school property, and wait until they start bringing real drugs to school to get yourselves all up-in-arms.

    How melodramatic.

  10. I think the big problem I am having here is that too many people are making excuses for these kids. Saying it is not a big deal is not okay for me. Kids need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. A drug is a drug. There needs to be a punishment, but I am not sure a felony is the right way unless these are repeat offenders. As a mother, I try to teach my kids that there are consequences for every action and decision they make. Some consequences are good and some are not. As parents and community members, we need to let kids know this is not okay. Stop making excuses for them. They chose wrong and their needs to be consequences.

    • Tammy Casagranda says:

      I dont see anyone making excuses for the kids. Its the felony thing thats a little much. Sure they need to be punished, we all agree but to what extreme? Suspension? Sure,Community service?Sure! Felony? too much for a first offense in my opinion.

      • I agree, they should not face a felony charge. I just did not like the comment that it’s just “weed”. Its a drug that is illegal. I like the idea of community service. This should not go unpunished, but I think jail time is a bit extreme.

        • zesty enterprise says:

          “A drug is a drug”? Mention that to your doc, see if s/he agrees. Pot is benign and illegal; alcohol is dangerous and available. They are both drugs with huge differences. High time to get over the evil weed fear.

  11. 24 separate calls in the police log about alcohol and drugs being abused in Seward since the 23 rd of Aug. More than one a day.Great examples to the kids…..

  12. Perhaps people forget about the place at the mile 5 area of Nash road. There really should be a program where kids can go find out just how much fun it is to live there and share a tiny room with a toilet in it, with another person. How much fun it is to make $00.50 and hour while cleaning up 500 other people’s mess, to hope that the person that they just moved in with doesn’t have “ideas” to pass the night. That place is full of “kids” who just made mistakes, but those mistakes, if not handled correctly, turn into life choices, which can turn into “sentences.”