GREELEY, Colo. - An $11 pot deal has four fourth graders at a Greeley elementary school in trouble.
On Monday, a 10-year-old brought pot to Monfort Elementary School and sold it to three other classmates on the playground for $11.
"He doesn't really know why he brought it to school. He took it from grandma, took it to school, decided to sell it (and) made a small profit," said John Gates, the director of safety and security for Greeley-Evans School District 6.
The next day, one of those students brought a pot edible to school and gave it to the 10-year-old who originally sold the pot.
"It was very small, what an adult would say is a bite of a candy bar, maybe. And the young man ate about half of it, so (he) took a small bite," said Gates.
According to Gates, the 10-year-old did not show any ill effects of eating the marijuana edible.
Both instances were learned after another student at the school told an administrator after overhearing something on the playground.
"The bigger issue of the story, to me, is that we have two instances where people who probably legally procured marijuana, didn't secure it," said Gates. "Two separate grandparents didn't secure their marijuana. Those that are over 21 that have it legally need to secure it, like it were a firearm or something valuable."
After interview the four students, Gates does not believe any of the pot from Monday's sale was smoked or ingested.
"They told us that they discarded it. Their story is plausible once we got all the facts out on the table. We have not recovered any of it, I don't think we will. It was thrown away at their homes," said Gates.
The school's principal sent home a letter to parents letting them know about the two incidents and suggested that the adults who have marijuana at home should store it more securely.
"We urge all parents, grandparents and anyone who cares for children to treat marijuana as you would prescription drugs, alcohol or even firearms. This drug is potentially lethal to children, and should always be kept under lock and key, away from young people," wrote Principal Jennifer Sheldon.
According to the school district, parents contacted Sheldon on Wednesday to get advice on how to talk to their kids about marijuana.
"A good time to do that is when you're driving in the car to school, you have extra time then. Just have a conversation while your kid is stuck in the backseat and they can't avoid you," said Dr. Amy Driscoll, a pediatrician and medical director for the Greeley-Evans School District. "I believe you should talk to your children about drugs in general, starting even at the preschool age. I'd like to see continued education just from kindergarten on up, like you do with stranger danger."
With this incident at the elementary school, adults are getting an impromptu lesson.
"Right now, it's more important to the adults, in my opinion, because if the marijuana hadn't been so accessible to the two 10-year-olds, none of this would have happened," said Gates. "The adults in this case didn't secure the marijuana. Unfortunately, that's not a criminal act. It would be much the same as if an underage person took liquor out of their parents' liquor cabinet."
None of the four students will be expelled, but the two who brought pot to school are facing the most serious punishment.
"We don't want to ruin anybody's life, but it is important to us that we use our discipline matrix as an educational tool," said Gates. "They all know that they could have left the school in handcuffs and they didn't."
--Letter from Monfort Elementary School Principal---
Dear Monfort families:
Over the past two days, we have had two separate, but related incidents of students bringing marijuana into our school, both in the form of loose leaf marijuana and an edible form of the drug.
Please, let me stress, no student was injured by using this drug and the students bringing it to the school have been identified and disciplinary action is underway. The Greeley Police Department was also notified of this incident.
This does, however, raise some serious safety concerns for students. We know that many adults have greater access to marijuana since the change in the drug’s legal status in Colorado as of January 1, 2014. Because adults have greater access, there is also the danger that children now have greater access to this potentially dangerous drug.
We urge all parents, grandparents and anyone who cares for children to treat marijuana as you would prescription drugs, alcohol or even firearms. This drug is potentially lethal to children, and should always be kept under lock and key, away from young people.
We will continue to deal with any issue of children bringing illegal or dangerous substances to school promptly and effectively. These incidents are a reminder to us all that we must be diligent where our children’s safety is concerned.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or our Assistant Principal Kelly Seilbach at (970) 348-2100.
Jennifer Sheldon, principal
Monfort K-6 School