A 14-year-old was arrested at West Baltimore Middle School yesterday and charged with possession of cocaine after he was seen passing around a bag of white powder in what amounted to an impromptu bit of show-and-tell, school officials said.
"At this point we really don't know if he had intentions of distributing the drug in school or the community," said Karen V. Poe, a school spokeswoman.
The suspected cocaine first came to the attention of school officials about 1:30 p.m., when a teacher saw a glassine bag of white powder being passed around.
"She wasn't sure what it was, but she had her suspicions," said Ms. Poe.
The teacher then contacted the assistant principal, who interviewed five students. Two of them said the 14-year-old eighth-grader had passed the suspected cocaine around class. The youngster was then taken to the school's administrative offices, where he was questioned by school police before voluntarily surrendering 16 bags of suspected cocaine, Ms. Poe said.
It was the first cocaine seizure in the school system this year, said Ms. Poe.
The middle school is located in the 200 block of North Bend Road and is one of the largest middle schools in the city, with an enrollment of more than 1,600 students.
The youth was charged as a juvenile and released to his parents. He also was suspended.
The suspected cocaine was sent to the Police Department's crime laboratory for analysis. If the material turns out to be cocaine, school officials will move to have the student expelled, Ms. Poe said.
"If it comes back as not being drugs, we will re-evaluate the situation," she said.