January 28, 2021

County schools suspend students> Explusion possible in alleged drug use

MADAWASKA — Six students at the Madawaska middle and high school have been suspended, and two of them may be expelled for their alleged involvement in the use or distribution of illegal drugs.

The investigation started Dec. 16, and the suspensions were made Dec. 22, one day before students went on Christmas vacation.

“It’s the first such incident since I have been superintendent, over six years,” Superintendent Thomas Scott said Thursday. “It started with a student being offered a smoke.”

The students, all boys between the ages of 13 and 17, allegedly were using and distributing marijuana, according to a police official.

Scott said the investigation is not yet complete, and two of the students could be expelled for reportedly furnishing or distributing drugs on the school campus.

The six students, three at the high school and three at the middle school, were suspended Dec. 22 for periods of two to 10 days. A hearing on the two students who could be expelled will be held Jan. 10.

Scott pointed out that no drugs were found on the students involved, nor in the school during the incidents and ensuing investigation.

The superintendent said the investigation began when a male student reported being approached by another student to see if he wanted to smoke with him.

“The young student had a problem with that, and told his parents, who in turn called the school administration,” Scott said. “From there, one suspected student implicated another and another.”

The suspensions, which started Dec. 22, will continue when classes resume next week.

School directors will be informed of the situation at a Jan. 5 meeting.

Scott said police were called and involved in the investigation from the outset.

Madawaska Police Chief Ronald Pelletier also said no drugs were found in the school or on the students involved.

“Students were initially interviewed by school personnel, and most of what’s been done has been done administratively by the school department, Pelletier said Thursday. “The incident deals with juveniles.”

Pelletier said he has submitted reports of the incident and the students involved to juvenile intake workers for possible legal action.

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