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4 Bel Air High youths, accused of having LSD, appeal expulsion HARFORD COUNTY


Four students expelled for alleged LSD possession at Bel Air High School last month are appealing their expulsions to the school board, the superintendent said.

The hearings, which will be closed to the public because the students are under 18, are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Superintendent Ray R. Keech said.

Some of the students' parents have hired lawyers, Mr. Keech said.

The four students are among nine at Bel Air High, ages 14 to 16, who were suspended Feb. 8, the day an 18-year-old Baltimore man was arrested on charges of supplying them with LSD tablets. The students, eight boys and one girl, were then expelled. The man was released after paying $5,000 bond.

All nine students, who police said had a total of 45 LSD tablets, also were charged criminally as delinquents for allegedly being under the influence or possessing, transporting or distributing LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). The drug causes hallucinations and has mind-altering effects such as distortion in perception and highly exaggerated feelings.

The students challenging their expulsions can appeal the school board's decision to the Maryland State Board of Education.

"We have to move quickly on these hearings. The public wants to see action from the school board," said Ronald Eaton, a school board member.

"The appeals are important enough that we should set aside an entire day to hear them."

Keith Williams, another board member, asked that the students -- and their attorneys -- limit their appeals to about two hours.

"This board caters to the whims of parents and attorneys too much," he said.

"We have the right to limit the amount of time they can spend arguing their case."

Mr. Keech said he thought the board could limit the students' arguments if the school system's attorneys or representatives faced the same restrictions.

Students who are expelled or given long-term suspensions can attend the school system's alternative education program, which meets two nights a week and on Saturdays.

In the 1991-1992 school year, 27 Harford high school students were suspended for alleged drug-related incidents, said Albert F. Seymour, school board spokesman.

Past reports of drug-related incidents do not specify what illegal substances allegedly were involved.

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