Cocaine incident at AHS leads to year suspension | AspenTimes.com

Cocaine incident at AHS leads to year suspension

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen School Board on Monday suspended for a year one of the two students discovered with cocaine in a high school bathroom last month.

The board deliberated for nearly two hours during a closed executive session before school district administrators, including Aspen High School Principal Kendall Evans and District Superintendent Tom Farrell, recommended the expulsion.

Though the executive session was closed to protect the teenager’s identity, the boy and his mother were present for deliberations.

After reopening Monday’s meeting to the public, board members voted 4-0 ? board member Jill Uris did not take part in the evening’s discussions ? to suspend the student for a year. The expulsion will last for the remainder of the school year, the maximum allowed by Colorado law, board president Augie Reno said.

“He would be eligible to come back to school next year,” he said.

The other student involved in the Oct. 10 incident was temporarily suspended from classes. Administrators would not comment on the conditions of that student’s punishment, though Farrell previously told The Aspen Times that students with drug offenses are required to complete a counseling program.

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The boys were apprehended last month when AHS Assistant Principal Tom Dodd found them in a school bathroom with a number of “bindles” full of a white, powdery substance. Dodd confiscated the substance and turned it over to law enforcement.

The substance, sent to specialists for analysis, tested positive for cocaine. It is the first recorded instance of cocaine possession in school history, Farrell said.

Pitkin County Juvenile Investigator Bruce Benjamin told The Aspen Times shortly after the incident that evidence was so far inconclusive as to whether the boys were dealing the drug.

“We believe they were using the substance in the bathroom,” he said.

The boys have not yet appeared in juvenile court, but Benjamin said the pair faces felony charges. Possession of a schedule two controlled substance, a class-four felony, could lead to a maximum of two years in a juvenile detention facility.

The school board was also expected to review its chemical abuse and chemical dependency policies on Monday. According to a copy of these policies, expulsion is recommended only when a student furnishes or sells a substance to peers.

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]

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