Teen Arrested for Allegedly Selling Sugar Packets at School
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Published on Feb 12, 2013
St. Marys, OH -- A practical joke, has landed a local teen behind bars and the boy's parents say the punishment went too far.
"My son totally uprooted and slammed into jail over a sugar packet is completely unacceptable to me." said Rob Pence.
Rob and Heidi Pence say the St. Mary's school district went too far with zero tolerance substance abuse policy. They say their 16 year old son who has a form of autism was arrested Monday, at Memorial High School for stuffing sugar he got from the school's cafeteria into a straw wrapper.
"He attempted to sell this as his secret sugar rush concoction," said Pence.Rob Pence says his son meant it as a joke and with his autism, he doesn't understand the seriousness of his actions.
"His maturity and emotional development is somewhere around the level of a ten year old or eleven," said Pence.
The school district did take the matter seriously however. According to the 2013 student handbook, the district has "zero tolerance for substance abuse or possession on school property" and protocol calls for police to be contacted for an investigation.
But Rob and Heidi say the district's zero tolerance policy is a one size fits all approach, and doesn't account for special needs kids.
The school district declined to comment on the specific case or their zero tolerance policy.
The 16 year old was taken into custody on a probation violation and in the past, police have been called to the school because of the teen's behavior.
"It was very obviously sugar, within a wrapper, candy wrapper they knew they weren't dealing with any drug," said Pence.
The sugar packets used by the 16 year old was taken to the Miami Valley crime lab for further analysis. The case is still under investigation.
The teen's parents are now considering alternative schools for their son.
Connect with ABC 22/FOX 45 Reporter Kavontae Smalls on Facebook and Twitter.
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