4 arrested at school on drug counts

Police called after teacher sees pupils

cocaine found

March 25, 2004|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Four pupils were arrested yesterday at Pikesville Middle School after officials found four bags of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana, Baltimore County police said.

When a teacher witnessed a 14-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy acting suspiciously in a bathroom about 9:20 a.m., school officials searched the pair and called county police, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a police spokesman.

The 14-year-old boy was carrying four bags of cocaine and a folding knife, Vinson said.

Ninety minutes later, school officials searched two other pupils and found that a 15-year-old boy possessed a small amount of marijuana, Vinson said. Another 14-year-old boy also was involved, he said.

All four have been charged as juveniles with drug possession, and the 14-year-old with the knife also has been charged with carrying a weapon on school property, police said.

School officials said possession of drugs is a violation of school code that likely would result in expulsion.

At Pikesville and in county middle schools in general, drug arrests are "very unusual," Vinson said. School officials also called the incident "isolated and unique."

"We really don't have a problem like this at any of our middle schools," said Charles Herndon, a spokesman for county schools.

Herndon said Pikesville's principal sent home a letter to parents yesterday explaining the situation.

The number of drug-related arrests at the county's 26 middle schools appears to be on the rise, according to police data.

Thirty-three such arrests were made in the first half of last year, compared with 32 for all of 2001. There were 53 drug-related arrests last year.

Vinson said the arrest increase might be because more police officers have been assigned to county schools.

Thirty-nine school-resource officers are stationed at all of the high schools and at several middle schools. Every middle school in the county participates in the DARE anti-drug program. "Those officers are ... trained to look for drugs and smell drugs," Vinson said.

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