Within a week, seven George Fox Middle School pupils have been suspended and two others face expulsion for taking drugs to school or buying them from classmates, officials said yesterday.
A 12-year-old girl who Anne Arundel County police said distributed her mother's antidepressant to a classmate was charged Tuesday in a juvenile citation with illegal possession of a pharmaceutical drug and distribution. She could be expelled.
She allegedly gave the drug to a seventh-grader who fell asleep in class and then told school administrators that he had taken a pill, said Officer Charles Ravenell, a Police Department spokesman. He was suspended, school administrators said.
Officials also confirmed that three other pupils were suspended Tuesday for having prescription drugs.
On March 8, a 14-year-old was overheard talking about selling marijuana to another pupil, police said. The principal found a small amount of suspected marijuana in his book bag and called Eastern District officers, who filed a juvenile citation against him for drug possession and distribution. The 14-year-old could be expelled.
Three others were suspended that afternoon for having drugs at school, officials said.
Police are not required to be informed of all drug possession cases, because school administrators can file juvenile citations, which parents must sign. But in some cases, said George Fox Principal Kevin Dennehy, parents have opted to have police take their children to the station before parents will pick them up and sign the citations - to teach them a lesson.
"It's very disappointing, because we just finished the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program for our seventh-grade students," Dennehy said.
According to Maryland State Department of Education statistics, the most recent available, 107 students were suspended in Anne Arundel County for drug violations in the 1999-2000 school year - a number dwarfed by the 2,821 suspended for disrespect, 1,387 for classroom disruption and 2,377 for physical attack on another student.
Since January, uniformed, armed police officers have been stationed in several county middle schools: Annapolis, Bates, Corkran, MacArthur, Marley and Meade, as well as the Learning Center, an alternative program.