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Wed, Sept. 18

Incident at elementary school shows it's never too early to talk with kids about drugs

Police and school officials urge parents to talk with their children about drugs and making good choices after two elementary school students were found with marijuana seeds on a school playground last week.

An Abia Judd Elementary School aide saw two boys pass a pill bottle between them then put their hands to their mouths as if they were eating, according to the police report. Both boys initially told the aide they had nothing, but later one boy gave her the vial and both said there were apple seeds inside, according to the police report.

The aide gave the bottle and seeds to the principal, who called police, and officers confirmed they were marijuana seeds.

Dave Smucker, superintendent of the Prescott Unified School District, encourages parents to be open with their children about drugs and the consequences of using them. Smucker said all students take part in a program about making good choices that covers drugs and other topics.

"This is an unfortunate case of the world in which we live in today," Smucker said. "It's a concern we have with students on every level."

In the past year, a middle school girl held a box for a friend and later learned it had marijuana in it, and a middle school boy borrowed a friend's backpack and later learned there was a pipe for smoking marijuana inside, according to police reports.

"We don't usually see a lot of drug activity in elementary school," said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department. "It usually starts in middle school, but it's never too early to talk with your kids about drugs."

One boy told the officer he thought his friend had brought in apple seeds and ate one on the playground, according to the police report. The other boy told the officer that a friend his age gave him the vial with the seeds and said they were sunflower seeds, according to the police report.

"We tell students that anytime a person offers you something to eat or drink and you're not sure about it to take it to a trusted adult, like a teacher or a parent, before you do that," Smucker said.

Parents should also know who their kids are hanging out with and what they are doing, Reinhardt said.

"Going through their rooms and spot-checking what's in their backpacks - that's part of parenting," Reinhardt said. "Although your kids may not appreciate you going through their stuff, explaining the reason why should make them understand."

The case has been forwarded to the Yavapai County Attorney's juvenile division to determine whether charges of possession of marijuana in a drug-free school zone will be filed, Reinhardt said.

Smucker said the district may add to its curriculum "Not My Kid," a successful Phoenix program in which young adults who have overcome addictions share their stories to keep students from abusing drugs.

Also, parents concerned that their kids may be using drugs can get a drug kit to test their kids, Reinhardt said.

"When others pressure your kids to do drugs, it gives your kids an out, and they can say 'I can't because my parents drug-test me,'" Reinhardt said.

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