Pittsburgh school police to charge fourth-grader accused of smoking pot in bathroom

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The Pittsburgh Public Schools fourth-grader facing a criminal charge for allegedly smoking marijuana in an elementary school restroom could be placed in alternative education and possibly expelled, according to the district’s code of conduct.

The document states that “any amount of an illegal drug is unacceptable.”

Violators may be placed in an alternative education program for at least one quarter, according to the document.

Possession of drugs is considered a serious Level II infraction by the district and can trigger a range of disciplinary responses.

Beyond any school district discipline, the 10-year-old girl at Pittsburgh Roosevelt PreK-5 in Carrick also will face a charge of possession of a small amount of marijuana, Merecedes Howze, a district spokeswoman, said Friday.

There was no indication from the district late Friday afternoon that the charge had been filed.

Ms. Howze said she could not disclose whether the girl was in school Friday after being taken to the hospital a day earlier.

Administrators learned Thursday from students that she was believed to be smoking marijuana in a bathroom at the school’s Intermediate Campus for grades 2-5 on West Cherryhill Street.

Acting principal Anthony Pipkin sent a letter to school parents informing them of the incident.


Mr. Pipkin wrote that the girl said she had brought the “used marijuana cigarette” and a lighter from home.

“No additional students inhaled or used the product,” Mr. Pipkin wrote.

School staff confiscated the joint and lighter and reported the situation to school police and ChildLine, a program that is part of the state Department of Public Welfare that fields calls reporting suspected child abuse.

Ms. Howze said the investigation is ongoing to determine the ultimate source of the marijuana.

“Roosevelt has never experienced an incident of this nature,” Ms. Howze wrote in an email. “In fact, that is likely why students reported the incident immediately.”

In cases when an adult is charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, the charge would typically be reduced to a summary count of disorderly conduct.

It is possible that a charge filed against a 10-year-old will not go before a judge but instead be resolved with the input of juvenile probation.


Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg. First Published May 23, 2014 12:38 AM


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