Principals from Chandler and Basha high schools sent letters to parents Friday urging them to discuss the dangers of drugs and alcohol with their children.
The letters come after reports that four Chandler High students and one Basha High student were arrested on suspicion of selling drugs and just as the schools are about to begin a two-week spring break.
“This is also a good time to reiterate with our children the importance of informing a responsible adult when they have information about drugs or alcohol usage,” wrote Chandler High principal Terry Williams.
“We ask that all parents, students and staff continue to help in our school safety efforts by being the ‘eyes and ears’ of Chandler High and our community.”
Of the students arrested, two are former baseball players and one is a former lacrosse player.
During the investigation, a Hamilton High School baseball player also was found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana but was not arrested.
School officials are prohibited from commenting on discipline of individual students, but Hamilton principal Fred De Prez said consequences vary depending on the severity of the infraction.
The first time students are caught with a small amount of marijuana they are given a nine-day suspension, which can be reduced to five days if they agree to go into a counseling program, De Prez said.
“If a kid is selling on campus, our procedure is to suspend them immediately and to go for a long-term suspension from school,” he said. “In both cases we involve our (school resource officer) and police reports are made.”
Lori Fries, who has two children at Chandler High, said she was glad the school sent a letter, but was concerned that some students wouldn’t give it to their parents.
Fries, whose sons participate in various school activities, said kids who take part in any activity — whether it’s sports, band or chess club — are representing their school and, as ambassadors for their community, should not drink or use drugs.
Michael Johnson, a Chandler High parent who previously coached at the school, said his heart goes out to the Chandler Unified School District.
“(This situation is) unfortunate because it could have happened anywhere,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to do what’s best for that situation over there.”
District spokesman Terry Locke said schools aim to prevent drug and alcohol use by teaching students at a young age of the dangers, beginning with character education programs in elementary school.
“Unfortunately there’s still a small percent of teenagers and adults that make bad choices,” Locke said. “It’s an enigma.”
Chandler, Basha and Hamilton each have about 3,000 students and each campus has a school resource officer from the Chandler Police Department who patrols campus.
From Dec. 1 through Feb. 28, Chandler police responded to four drug-related calls at Chandler High and arrested three juveniles; eight drug-related calls and seven juvenile arrests at Basha; and four drug-related calls and five juvenile arrests at Hamilton, according to detective Livi Kacic, a police spokeswoman. m