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Illegal drugs found at high school

Nine Mount Si High School students have been disciplined by the school district and some are facing possible criminal charges after a drug that is believed to be ecstasy was distributed at the school on Friday, Jan. 27.

Three of the students, who were in violation of the district's policy on drug distribution, have been expelled. The other six have been suspended for 30 days each for possession of the substance. All nine students have no previous drug-related offenses.

According to the Snoqualmie police, seven students were questioned and two of them who were in direct possession could be charged if the substance is found to be an illegal drug.

According to Mount Si principal Randy Taylor, a student tip led school officials to those involved in the incident. He said he is proud of those students who came forward after learning of the drug on campus.

"They're concerned about this kind of thing in their school," he said. "They stepped up to the plate and said, 'We want to provide assistance.'"

Taylor said administrators at the school received the student tip, followed up with some interviews and discovered there were about 20 tablets of a drug believed to be ecstasy that were dispersed on Friday morning. The school then turned the matter over to Snoqualmie police who conducted student interviews at the school.

Following the police investigation, the school expelled the three students who were involved with istributing the drug. Those students who were in possession of the drug, but who weren't distributing it, can have a drug assessment, enroll in a drug counseling class and have 25 of their 30 days of suspension waived for completion of the six-week class.

Taylor said almost all students who have the option to take the class do so.

"The parents want them back in school and as an educator, I don't want them on the street," he said. "They probably have a drug problem and we want them to get help. On the first offense, the consequence is kind of a 'Please learn your lessons; we want to rehabilitate you. We want you to understand a better path to go rather than abusing drugs.'"

Snoqualmie Valley School District Superintendent Joel Aune said this incident is unfortunate and disappointing, but that there are many good things happening in the high school that shouldn't be overshadowed by this negative incident.

Aune agreed with Taylor by saying it is a positive sign that students at the high school came forward with information about the drugs.

"It shows that it is not an acceptable or desirable part of the culture at Mount Si High School," he said. "It appears kids are willing to step up and say, 'This is something we observed and we feel like it needs to be taken care of.'"

Aune said the incident concerns administrators at the school and the district, but that there are not enough incidents of this type to be a cause for alarm.

"It's a small, small, small percentage of students typically who are making these kinds of choices," he said.

The school administration handled the situation well, he said.

"They stepped in and did the investigation and acted upon this in an appropriate fashion," he said. "Now they're looking to move forward."

Taylor said that the incident overall had a couple of positive outcomes in addition to the students coming forward with their concerns about drug use and distribution at the school.

"No student overdosed," he said. "There were no severe health outcomes as a result of kids taking it and having some adverse effect."

Another positive thing, Taylor said, is that strong sanctions were applied to those responsible for distribution of the drug.

"The worst I can do is expel them and deny them access to an education," he said. "That happened to three of the kids. It's a pretty harsh penalty for any kind of behavior and I think that sends a pretty clear message: Deal drugs on campus and there are some sanctions involved."

Taylor emphasized that involved parents are the best antidote to any kind of drug issue.

"I encourage parents to know where their kids are," he said. "Double check with other parents. Establish appropriate curfews. Know who your kids are with. Have adult-sponsored events with kids. There are a ton of tips and helpful advice to not just let the kids grow up on their own."

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