UPDATE: Nine students suspended for bringing ‘pot brownies’ into Ashburn middle school
Update, 2:01 p.m., Jan. 27
According to Liz Mills, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the incident actually occurred on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 25. Yet, a Sheriff’s Office school resource officer wasn’t notified until after 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to earlier information from Sheriff Mike Chapman.
“In the future, the Sheriff’s Office hopes that incidents are coordinated at the earliest stage possible,” Mills said.
School Board Public Information Officer Wayde Byard said the school actually wasn’t aware of the extent of the incident until dismissal on Thursday, and notified the Sheriff’s Office shortly thereafter.
“We didn’t wait on this,” Byard said, and indicated that school administration separated the students for questioning.
The nine students, including five boys and four girls, have been suspended, Mills said. The group apparently mixed together marijuana and brownie batter earlier in the week before bringing the items to school. Each student was scheduled to meet with a school resource officer today to determine their length of suspensions.
All nine students are 8th graders.
Update, 10:49 a.m., Jan. 27
Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Office Wayde Byard confirmed that nine students were involved in the incident. And despite what students proclaimed on social media feeds, nobody is jumping the gun on suspensions or expulsions.
“Students make mistakes, and we want to help them fix the mistakes,” Byard said. “We’re not focused on punishment, we’re focused on how to help these kids.”
Yet, Byard said having controlled substances in school is a serious event and is punishable by suspension or expulsion in the worst case.
Byard indicated that marijuana brought into a middle school is rare, but that Loudoun County Public Schools fields a substance abuse incident “once or twice a year” at the middle school level.
On Jan. 6, six students were found intoxicated at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School in South Riding, the last documented case of Loudoun middle school substance abuse. In that incident, the six kids ranged from 12-14 in age and were determined to be in different states of intoxication. None of the students required medical attention and the school notified the parents.
This is a developing story.
Original story, 9:53 p.m. Jan. 26
Reports of students bringing brownies infused with marijuana into Farmwell Station Middle School on Jan. 26 were confirmed by Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman.
Chapman said the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the situation at 5:45 p.m. and that there appeared to be a handful of students involved.
Liz Mills, spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office, had said at approximately 5:27 p.m. that the agency was unaware of the situation.
Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Office Wayde Byard said that he also wasn’t aware of the circumstances at around 5:30 p.m.
Chapman said that the Sheriff’s Office did not conduct the investigation, and it is unclear at this time whether there will be charges. He added that the Sheriff’s Office will work with Loudoun County Public Schools to investigate the matter further.
Social media sites Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with discussion surrounding Farmwell Station Middle School claiming that up to 20 students had been expelled.
Sherryl Loya, the school’s principal, shot down those reports with a release from the ConnectEd system shortly after 9 p.m. The phone and email message was sent to every parent and staff member associated with the middle school, and also made it to Facebook.
“Good evening, this is Sherryl Loya, the principal of Farmwell Station Middle School. There was a great deal of social media activity tonight stating that up to 20 students have been expelled from Farmwell Station for an alleged offense. This is not true. Our school system’s disciplinary system does not impose instant punishments for any offense. When severe punishment, such as a suspension or expulsion, is imposed, it is done only after a thorough investigation at the school and review at the central office. I’m asking you please do not contribute to the misinformation being spread. Thank you.”
After Chapman confirmed the incident, Byard said he couldn’t comment on the situation, saying officials are not allowed to talk about discipline-related issues that involve students.