Parents and school officials are reacting to a drug bust that put one underage student behind bars. This past Wednesday, a deputy at a DeFuniak Springs school discovered less than 20 grams of marijuana on a student after being tipped off by the drug's distinct smell.
It is no joke that Walton County Schools have a zero tolerance policy. "No Drugs. No Alcohol. No Gangs." This motto is especially true for Walton Academy, a school made up of at risk students.
"When kids show up they line up to go through our security shed," Principal Steve Ruder said.
The shed equipped with metal detectors and security wands is used as a way to deter crime; but even then, things do happen
"When I picked it up, I could automatically smell the odor of marijuana coming form the backpack," Deputy John Pettis said. It was during a routine that he discovered the distinct smell of marijuana; and after a thorough search by the school's dean, they launched an investigation to find the missing drugs.
"We found out who the backpack belonged to and we made contact with that student. That is how the investigation began," Pettis said.
A subsequent interview with the 15-year old student revealed that teenage boy hid less than 20 grams of marijuana in between a roll of toilet paper.
"He was to bring the marijuana on campus, place it inside a roll of toilet paper roll, and when he returned, another student would go in the bathroom and retrieve the contraband."
That within itself is disturbing to parents. "I have a lot of concerns about that. It's really getting scary." Patti Johnson said.
"I have great concerns because with everything that has happened in the school systems, drugs are a big problem because of the influence they have on our kids," Kenny Brooks added.
A 14-year old student found with the marijuana was later arrested and released from the juvenile correctional facility. He was charged with possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.
An arrest warrant has been applied for the student who smuggled the drugs on school property.
The Walton academy is a voluntary school that provides students with a second chance. School officials say that they are not trying to downplay this incident by any means and take these issues very seriously. Both students involved are suspended from school and are awaiting the results of an expulsion hearing by the Walton County School Board.