Bremerton school suspends students accused of taking prescription drugs

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by CHRIS DANIELS and DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 22, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 22 at 10:26 PM

BREMERTON, Wash. - The middle school students accused of taking prescription drugs Tuesday, are now suspended under emergency expulsions while the Bremerton School District conducts an investigation.

Police said the students at Mountain View Middle School ingested prescription drugs that belonged to a parent. The nine students were treated and released from Harrison Medical Center. Police say it appears the students may have taken one pill or a combination of Cymbalta and Oxycontin.

Police said they have identified two boys as the source of the drugs, a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old. Both are expected to face criminal charges.

A school district spokeswoman said those students could end up being suspended anywhere from 45 to 90 days.

The other students could be barred from school from ten to 20 days.

"We really hope students would use better judgment," said Patty Glaser, Bremerton School District's Communications Manager.

The spokeswoman said prescription drug abuse is not common in Bremerton schools.

"We were pretty much surprised by this," said Glaser.

One child said no to the drugs

Phyllicia Ellis got the call every parent dreads.
 
“My son was in Harrison Hospital," she said.
 
One of those students offered he drugs to Phyllicia’s son, Raymeal.
 
“He asked me if I wanted one, and I said no,” says Raymeal.
 
Yet, in the confusion, he went to the hospital with the others who were poisoned by the medication. 
 
“The medications came from a private home and the parents are devastated,” says Mountain View Principal Michaeleen Gelhaus. She tried to reassure parents, at a local PTA meeting Wednesday night that the situation was under control.  She says counselors will go room-to-room Thursday to tell the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders about dangers of the prescription drugs and a schoolwide assembly is also planned.
 
Gelhaus also says the school was being proactive about the student’s health, and that’s why Raymeal was caught up in the confusion.
 
“I just want them to know how proud I am that he didn’t take it,” says Phyllicia.
 
She also says after talking with her son, about the dangers of drugs, he may have learned a valuable lesson.
 
“Say no to drugs,” says Raymeal, “and don’t do it ever cause it can make your life really bad.”

This Saturday, Sept. 25, the Drug Enforcement Administration is coordinating a nationwide effort to remove potentially dangerous drugs from medicine cabinets. The National Take-Back Day is your chance to get rid of unwanted or unused prescription drugs safely. Click here for more information.

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