East Grand School District officials continue to discuss response to Dec. drug incident | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand School District officials continue to discuss response to Dec. drug incident

The student involved drug related incident that occurred in mid-Dec. in Granby continued to dominate discussion during the last East Grand School District (EGSD) Board of Education meeting, held Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The Board meeting was held immediately following a presentation called "ACT on Drugs" by Lynn Riemer, a former forensic chemist with the Drug Enforcement Administration. East Grand officials were prompted to bring Riemer to Grand County for her presentation series after the Dec. incident that involved students from the East Grand Middle School (EGMS).

After hearing Riemer's presentation Tuesday evening roughly a dozen parents and community members attended the EGSD Board meeting. The Board of Education meetings are typically sparsely attended. However since the incident on Dec. 15 last year the Board has held two formal meetings and both have drawn significant crowds posing questions about district policy and disciplinary actions for those involved in the incident.

STATUS

District officials informed parents they are still waiting to hear from the District Attorney's Office if any charges stemming from the incident will be filed against students.

"We don't know yet what charges will or won't be coming," said District Superintendent Frank Reeves.

Granby Police Chief Jim Kraker was on hand for the meeting and answered some of the question.

"We have to be very careful with juveniles," Chief Kraker said.

"We have victims here, 13-year-olds. We don't throw them away." Kraker explained the investigation is moving forward with talks with the District Attorney's Office and other attorneys and the process is often slow.

"What I can tell you right now is, 'have faith in the process," said Superintendent Reeves.

"If we are a month from now and there is still nothing, we would expect some backlash, and rightfully so. But have faith in the process."

Reeves added the "legality" aspect of the issue would be addressed before the School District takes significant formal disciplinary actions.

STRATEGIES

District officials discussed strategies to address any potential future drug problems.

"Drugs are going to be a problem," Reeves said.

"They are in schools across America and across Colorado. They are urban and rural. But how are we going to be proactive and not just reactive."

Reeves highlighted the presentation by Riemer and suggested holding semi-regular presentations for students to reiterate the dangers of drugs.

"We need to develop, community wise, an education piece for our kids."

Reeves highlighted suggestions for developing an addiction counseling service vaguely similar to programs like Alcoholics Anonymous as an option for any students who perceive themselves as having a problem but feel as though they have no safe or confidential place to turn regarding addiction.

He followed the suggestion with a rhetorical question.

"What programs do we have for kids that are in trouble with drugs but aren't necessarily in trouble with school or the law?"

Reeves discussed bringing in drug sniffing dogs to occasionally sniff the halls in the local schools as a potential deterrent mechanism. He also highlighted discussions between the EGSD and the Granby Police to increase police presence at the schools as well as ongoing talks about a potential School Resource Officer.

RUMORS

The incident that prompted the public concern occurred on Dec. 15 and involved several students from the EGSD as well as drugs. Details of what specifically occurred has been sparse but a statement released by Superintendent Reeves on Dec. 29 states, "On December 15th [2016] the Granby Police Department was made aware of possible illegal drug transactions, distribution and use on or near East Grand Middle School and Middle Park High School."

According to the release investigators were made aware of instances, "involving the sale of marijuana (in weed form as well as edibles) as well as the sell and usage of LSD." According to the release from the EGSD multiple students from both the middle school and the high school were implicated in the investigation.

Shortly after the incident happened on Dec. 15 news of the occurrence as well as numerous unfounded rumors circulated quickly on social media platforms.

"Dispelling rumors has occupied quite a lot of our time," said Reeves. "If you have questions please call us. We should be able to give you an answer."

Reeves reiterated District reports that the drugs involved in the incident were not sold on school property.

"Adults were dealing to people outside school. They weren't inside the school dealing drugs. They were dealing to students who then brought it into school."

One parent asked if any high school students had gone into the EGMS dance, held Dec. 15, prior to the incident. Jenny Rothboeck, EGMS Principal, and Thom Schnellinger, Middle Park High School Principal, both emphatically said no. Other District officials pointed out students are not allowed to bring anyone over 21 into school dances as a "guest".

Schnellinger continued, attempting to set at ease some parents who feel as though they have not heard all the details of the incident.

"There is no 'sweeping under the rug' of anything in this District," Schnellinger said.

"You may not be privy to everything that is said in the office, and you may not have a right to it, but it is never 'swept under the rug."