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Vidalia Junior High School students with pill charged

BY GENE COLEMAN

VIDALIA — A hearing is expected by the end of next week into an incident in which four students were found to be in possession of prescription drugs at Vidalia Junior High School on Monday, Concordia Parish Schools Superintendent Whest Shirley said Tuesday.

Vidalia police responded to a call from a school official approximately 12:10 p.m. Monday, said Lt. Miranda Clifton, criminal investigator with the Vidalia Police Department.

The school official told police a rumor was going through school that students were passing out prescription medicine and ingesting it, Clifton said.

During a police investigation, Clifton said, officers retrieved the drug guanfacine hydrochloride, a prescription drug used to treat ADHD and hypertension.

Clifton said four students were found to be in possession of the drug and were charged with “possession of a legend drug without prescription” and released to their parents.

Clifton also said other juveniles admitted to taking the prescription medicine, and emergency medical personnel were called to evaluate the students, who were allegedly involved.

Shirley said school punishment for drug possession is a “cut and dried” process mandated by state law and the school’s discipline reference chart for grades 6-12, under 16 years old, state that possession and/or distribution of drugs calls for expulsion for a minimum of two “complete” school semesters.

Shirley would not elaborate Tuesday on disciplinary action and said some parents plan to appeal, but he would not say how many.

“We had some wanting to appeal,” Shirley said, “and we expect to have a hearing by the end of the week.”

Shirley said Monday’s incident is only the second case of drugs in the school since he took office 14 months ago.

“Drugs are on campus, not a lot, but probably more than we’d like to think,” he said.

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said adults should keep prescription medicine safely locked away.

“This is a very serious matter and thank God there were not any terrible repercussions for the juveniles who took the prescription drugs,” Merrill said. “I ask parents, grandparents or anyone who has visitors in their homes to keep track of or lock up your prescription medicine.

“If you want to remove old or unused medicine from your home please feel free to bring it to Vidalia Police Department as we partner with the DEA on a drug take-back program.”

The investigation is ongoing, Clifton said.

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