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updated: 2/14/2012 10:09 AM

Stevenson board defends cellphone searches in drug probe

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  • Bruce Lubin

      Bruce Lubin

  • The Stevenson High School board tonight said the district had the legal right to inspect cellphones as part of its well-publicized drug investigation at the Lincolnshire school, which led to charges against two students.

       The Stevenson High School board tonight said the district had the legal right to inspect cellphones as part of its well-publicized drug investigation at the Lincolnshire school, which led to charges against two students.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

In the first Stevenson High School board meeting since an investigation into illegal drug sales at the Lincolnshire campus was made public, board President Bruce Lubin on Monday said officials will continue to do everything they can "to keep the school and our students safe from the dangers of drug use."

"In order to provide a safe learning environment and ensure our mission of success for every student, we expect the administration to actively investigate potential instances of student misconduct including, but not limited to, the selling, purchasing, using or distributing of impairing or intoxicating substances," Lubin said, reading from a prepared statement.

Two students have been charged in juvenile court in connection with the investigation, which began in December and focused on more than 1,000 text messages students sent to each other. Police and school officials worked together on the case.

In his four-minute statement, Lubin defended the inspection of cellphones and those text messages.

School officials had the legal right to take those steps, he said.

"Far more important than the question of cellphone misuse and searches is the fact that we may have students and families in our community who are struggling with drug use and addiction," Lubin said.

Less than 10 grams of marijuana was recovered from one student during the investigation, Lincolnshire police have said.

Although police said last week their investigation is complete, school officials have not yet capped their inquiry.

"We're hopeful it will wrap up as soon as Tuesday," Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey told the Daily Herald.

Reporters and cameramen vastly outnumbered the students and parents who attended Monday's meeting.

When Lubin asked the crowd if anyone wanted to talk to the board about the situation, no one raised a hand.

Outside the boardroom, one parent told the gathered reporters she was surprised by the relative lack of community attendance.

Another parent, Jack Peiser, also spoke to reporters and complained, "We're really getting no facts" about the investigation.

Peiser said he believes there is a "huge" drug problem at Stevenson, even though charges were filed against only two students as a result of this investigation.

When asked about the number of students who have faced campus punishments because of the investigation, Peiser repeated a much-earlier reported figure of 100 to 200 teens.

Conrey called those figures "wildly exaggerated," but he again declined to say how many students have faced disciplinary action.

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