POLICE: PTISD officials called police to report drug possession on campus in June

Gregg County Jail

POSTED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 10:24am

UPDATED: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 6:25am

According to the Longview Police Department, a Pine Tree teacher called authorities to report the alleged drug use on school property in June. The report also states the high school principal was also present during the search by police. 

A PTISD employee contacted police and reported four students, including football players Robert Hines, Ladarius Fluellen and Tyler Smith, were in a parked car on campus grounds and smelled of marijuana. The fourth student, a female, will not be named or pictured as she is a minor. The students were then searched by school district faculty members, including the teacher and high school principal. When the door of the parked car was opened, a Chick-Fil-A box was found in the back seat containing two blunts (joints) and a useable amount of marijuana.

According to police reports, the students' eyes were bloodshot and glazed over, showing signs of marijuana use.

The students were arrested this week on charges of possession of illegal substance, possession of an illegal substance in a drug free zone and theft of an item greater than $50 but less than $500.

The theft charge was brought against Smith after he confessed to Kilgore Police he stole an iPhone during a seven-on-seven game at Kilgore High School in May.

The students have played in every high school football game this year to date.

KETK spoke with UIL officials, Tuesday, as to what can be done through their eyes on the matter.

"Judiciary incidents trump UIL law," said a UIL spokesperson. "As the governing body of public schools and extra-curricular activities in the state of Texas, the drug tests issued by our organization only test for performance enhancing drugs. It is up to the school districts to implement a policy to which they will discipline their students for illegal drugs, alcohol use, etc."

According to the Pine Tree ISD Student Code of Conduct, which can be found online through the Pine Tree ISD website, the document is the district’s response to the requirements of Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. The Code provides methods and options for managing students in the classroom and on school grounds, disciplining students, and preventing and intervening in student discipline problems.

The law requires the district to define misconduct that may—or must—result in a range of specific disciplinary consequences including removal from a regular classroom or campus, out-of-school suspension, placement in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP), or expulsion from school.

This Student Code of Conduct has been adopted by the Pine Tree Board of Trustees and developed with the advice of the district-level committee. This Code provides information to parents and students regarding standards of conduct, consequences of misconduct, and procedures for administering discipline.

In accordance with state law, the Code will be posted at each school campus or will be available for review at the office of the campus principal. Additionally, the Code will be posted on the district’s Website. Parents will be notified of any conduct violation that may result in a student being suspended, placed in a DAEP, or expelled.

Because the Student Code of Conduct is adopted by the district’s board of trustees, it has the force of policy; therefore, in case of conflict between the Code and the student handbook, the Code will prevail.

School rules and the authority of the district to administer discipline apply whenever the interest of the district is involved, on or off school grounds, in conjunction with or independent of classes and school-sponsored activities.

The district has disciplinary authority over a student:

  • During the regular school day and while the student is going to and from school on district transportation.
  • During lunch periods in which a student is allowed to leave campus.
  • While the student is in attendance at any school-related activity, regardless of time or location.
  • For any school-related misconduct, regardless of time or location.
  • When retaliation against a school employee or volunteer occurs or is threatened, regardless of time or location.
  • When criminal mischief is committed on or off school property or at a school-related event.
  • For certain offenses committed within 300 feet of school property as measured from any point on the school’s real property boundary line.
  • For certain offenses committed while on school property or while attending a school-sponsored or school-related activity of another district in Texas.
  • When the student commits a felony, as provided by Education Code 37.006 or 37.0081.
  • When the student is required to register as a sex offender.

According to the Pine Tree ISD Code of Conduct, the district has the right to search a vehicle driven to school by a student and parked on school property whenever there is reasonable cause to believe it contains articles or materials prohibited by the district.

The categories of conduct below are prohibited at school and all school-related activities, but the list does not include the most serious offenses. In the subsequent sections on Out-of-School Suspension, DAEP Placement, Placement and/or Expulsion for Certain Serious Offenses, and Expulsion, severe offenses that require or permit specific consequences are listed. Any offense, however, may be serious enough to result in Removal from the Regular Educational Setting as detailed in that section.

The Code of Conduct also states students shall not possess illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs:

  • Possess or sell seeds or pieces of marijuana in less than a usable amount. (For illegal drugs, alcohol, and inhalants see DAEP Placement and Expulsion)
  • Possess, use, give, or sell paraphernalia related to any prohibited substance.
  • Possess or sell look-alike drugs or attempt to pass items off as drugs or contraband.

KETK contacted Pine Tree ISD Communications and Public Information Specialist Vickie Echols for comment early Tuesday afternoon.

Echols e-mailed KETK back Wednesday morning stating the following:

We have received and reviewed your inquiry, but it is our policy not to discuss information regarding students. Because student information is protected by law, the school district is legally and ethically bound not to discuss situations such as in your inquiry. Thank you for understanding.

It is unclear whether or not these students will participate in Pine Tree's Friday night football game against Lindale. However, KETK will continue to update information on this exclusive story as information is released.

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