Police: School Officials Handled Pot Brownies Incident Smoothly
School officials shut down North Andover High School's junior prom early after students allegedly became ill from marijuana-laced brownies.
In the wake of an incident involving pot brownies that shut down North Andover's junior prom early on Friday, police are praising school officials for keeping an unfortunate situation orderly.
"Everything went smoothly," North Andover Police Lieutenant Paul Gallagher said. "The school administration handled the whole thing."
On Friday evening, four students became ill at Atkinson Country Club -- the site of the junior prom -- and it was discovered they had likely ingested brownies containing marijuana, Superintendent Chris Hottel said. Principal Carla Scuzzarella, who was at the prom, called 911 as a precaution, and the affected students were checked out by medical professionals and later released.
It is suspected that as many as 19 students received pot brownies at North Andover High School before buses took them to Atkinson for their prom, Hottel said.
The prom was cut short, and students were returned to North Andover High School, where North Andover police were waiting for them. Gallagher had been contacted by school officials, so he sent a sargent and two officers to the high school to speak with school officials, students and parents.
"As superintendent, I want to thank the North Andover Police and to commend Dr. Scuzzarella and her staff for the prompt and clear actions they took to ensure the safety of our students," Hottel said.
Gallagher reiterated his gratitude for school officials for keeping a bad situation from becoming chaotic, but he could not release further details of the incident.
"It's still an ongoing investigation," Gallagher said. Police will meet with school officials on Monday.
Teenage marijuana use has seen recent increase after years of decline, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The sharpest increase has been among eighth-graders; in 2010, 16 percent of students in that grade said they had used marijuana, up from 14 percent in 2009. The study also showed that nearly 22 percent of all high school seniors reported having used marijuana, up from just over 19 percent the previous year.