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Aspen students facing expulsion for alleged pot deal

Katie Redding
kredding@aspentimes.com
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” Two Aspen High School students face expulsion after allegedly selling marijuana to a classmate on the pedestrian bridge between the Aspen Recreation Center and Aspen High School, according to Superintendent Diana Sirko.

Sirko updated the Aspen School Board on the matter at its Wednesday night meeting.

According to Sirko, Principal Charlie Anastas and Assistant Principal Jeff Kraunz smelled the scent of marijuana in a school hallway on Friday, and identified the lockers holding the contraband.



They subsequently found the students whose lockers were believed to contain the marijuana, and the students consented to have their lockers searched by Anastas and Kraunz, Sirko said.

The administrators determined that one student appeared to have bought the marijuana and two appeared to have sold it, she added.



The alleged sellers had a “a relatively small amount” of marijuana, Sirko said.

The students suspected of selling the pot were immediately suspended from school, said Sirko. They also were recommended for expulsion, as required by Colorado law, said Sirko. The date for their expulsion hearing has not been set.

Sirko noted the district has latitude regarding the length of the expulsion, which could be as short as the rest of this academic year. She said the district would take the students’ past history into account in making decisions.



In the meantime, the district is required to offer the students alternatives for continuing their education, Sirko said. Options include online courses or attending expulsion school at the Bridges High School in Carbondale.

The student suspected of purchasing the marijuana was suspended, Sirko said.

The students could face criminal charges, said Sirko, as the district called local law enforcement in on the matter.

The district attorney will decide whether to charge the students or recommend diversion, said Mario Strobl, patrol director with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. In a diversion, students perform community service and charges are deferred provided they don’t get into trouble during a specified time frame, he said.

These expulsions will be the first the district has seen in two years, according to Sirko.

The last time a student was caught trying to sell drugs at Aspen High School appears to be in 2002. Two students were caught with eight “bindles” of cocaine in an Aspen High School bathroom. One eventually pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and the other pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a controlled substance.


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