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News (Media Awareness Project) - US FL: Schools Crack Down On 'Spice'
Title:US FL: Schools Crack Down On 'Spice'
Published On:2012-01-31
Source:Santa Rosa's Press Gazette (FL)
Fetched On:2012-02-02 06:02:42
SCHOOLS CRACK DOWN ON 'SPICE'

The Santa Rosa County School District Is Saying "No" to Potpourri.

More specifically, the potpourri many refer to as "K-2" or "Spice"
that can be smoked, and that gives people the same side affects one
might experience while high on marijuana.

The drug became mildly popular over the past few years, and the
district has taken notice. At Thursday night's school board meeting,
the board introduced a proposed amendment for the district's Student
Code of Conduct that would outlaw spice as part of a list of
controlled substances not allowed on school campuses.

The amendment, which will be voted on at a follow up school board
meeting on March 22 at 6:30 p.m. would outlaw the drug from school property.

If the amendment were to be passed on March 22, it would go into
affect immediately according to Connie Carnley, director of middle
schools for the Santa Rosa County school district who has been at the
forefront of the battle on spice since day one.

According to Carnley, once the amendment is put into place, schools
will receive the new language for the code of conduct changes and the
changes would also be made available to parents and students on the
school board website.

Carnley, who deals with middle schools, says a majority of the spice
cases pop up in area high schools.

"All of our students are being exposed to it in some form or
fashion," Carnley said. "We have to show them how serious this product is."

But what is surprising, Carnley said, is there are as many cases of
students being caught with or high on spice as there are of children
being caught with or high on marijuana.

"Our primary concern is their health and safety," Carnley said. "You
don't know what is really in this product or how it's going to affect you."

The issue with spice is not the actual potpourri that can be found in
most gas stations and smoke shops, but the chemicals that are sprayed
on the synthetic marijuana.

At the Thursday night school board meeting, one administrator talked
about how he walked into a gas station to pay for some items, and
there was a package of spice on the checkout counter.

"You can go down to certain convenience stores and buy them...and I
mean, it's right there on the rack by the checkout stand," Carnley
said. "(Bill) Emerson said he went to a convenience store and he said
it was right there for anybody to purchase.

"It's not illegal to purchase it, that's the thing."

Last July, the federal government put a ban on the distribution of
the chemicals that are sprayed on the potpourri. The law passed by
the government does not outlaw the potpourri, but the actual chemical
it is sprayed with. Only lab tests can determine how much chemicals,
if any, have been sprayed on the potpourri.

When a student gets high on the drug, most don't know how much
chemicals have been sprayed into the potpourri. If a large amount of
chemicals are sprayed into the potpourri, it can be deadly according
to Carnley.

"People have died from this," Carnley said. "Students have the
perception that spice is legal weed, so they think it's OK.

"They don't realize how serious it is."

What's more serious is the punishment that will come with the
amendment if it were to pass. The punishment will be similar to
someone being caught with or under the influence of alcohol.

The first strike will play out as a suspension from the school. A
second strike will get a student suspended with the possibility of
being placed in alternative placement.

Back at their December school board meeting, board members talked
about the drug's affects and were looking to ban the drug.

Recently, the district brought in a physician to Gulf Breeze high
school and middle school to talk about the harmful affects of the
drug after a handful of students were caught high on the substance.

"They know marijuana is illegal. This is just a cheap, legal, easy
way to get high," Carnley said. "We're ramping up our education in
regard to educating students and parents about spice and other synthetic drugs."
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