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Police: Minors Brought Marijuana to Leadership Conference

Three 16-year-old Fairfax County students arrested for possession of substance during off-campus DECA meeting.

Three 16-year-old girls were arrested last week in Springfield for allegedly being in possession of marijuana at an off-campus event.

Officer Bud Walker, a spokesman for Fairfax County Police, say the teenagers were arrested at Waterford Receptions, an event venue that was hosting a regional high school leadership conference at the time of their arrests last Tuesday.

They were each charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.

On that day, Waterford Receptions hosted a fall leadership conference for several DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) clubs in Northern Virginia, part of an international group that trains young entrepreneurs in marketing, hospitality and other fields. 

Walker said officers responded to the address at 11:11 a.m. Tuesday. The conference was held at the location from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ryan Witzig, the DECA specialist for the Virginia chapters, confirmed several Fairfax County schools were represented at the DECA conference in Springfield, including Annandale High School, Chantilly High School, George C. Marshall High School, Hayfield Secondary School, James Madison High School, Lake Braddock Secondary, McLean High School, Mount Vernon High School, Oakton High School, Robinson Secondary School, Tysons Classroom and West Springfield High School.

Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre declined to comment on the incident, citing student privacy policies.

According to the Fairfax County Public Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, students who use or possess marijuana while at a school-sponsored activity receive a 10-day suspension from school and a recommendation for expulsion.

The handbook says the division superintendent then holds a hearing "to determine whether a disciplinary action other than expulsion is appropriate."

It goes on to say "in any case, the School Board or Division Superintendent may determine, based on the facts of the particular case, that special circumstances exist and that another disciplinary action is appropriate."

Anonymous October 09, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I'm incredibly disappointed by the quality and subject matter of these irrelevant articles so frequently published by the Patch. Would a major newspaper publish an article entitled "Breaking: Teenagers Do Stupid Things?" No, because not only do these things happen quite frequently, they maintain no relevance to Mclean residents behind the sensationalist appeal. Why further humiliate these girls and their families by posting an article for the entire community to read? Do they deserve more punishment than they will receive from their parents, their schools, and the state? I know if every poor decision I made as a teenager was printed, I very well may have lost my mind...
M. R. October 09, 2012 at 04:34 PM
So, three teens were found to have marijuana. So what? Just before being arrested, these girls were considered leaders in their school. Nothing has changed. Don't label minors has horrible people because they can see the value in an herb that will become legalized for medical use and much more. Perhaps they are true leaders and thinkers of our community and our judicial system will catch up with their way of thinking.
Razz October 09, 2012 at 04:44 PM
@ Anonymous. Hopefully, the fact that Patch does publish these stories will help discourage others from similar illegal and disrespectful acts. Given these student's total lack of respect for the DECA conference and what it stands for, they've earned what appears to be in the upcoming cards; expulsion from FFX county schools.
David C. Couper October 09, 2012 at 04:53 PM
A good time to talk about leadership and what it is. For ideas see “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com). And my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com
EL October 09, 2012 at 05:03 PM
A 10 day suspension and recommendation for expulsion? Way over the line. I'm sure any penalties their parents have in store will be enough.
diana bork October 09, 2012 at 05:03 PM
To Anonymous - Yes, that is why no one reads the Patch anymore. I caught this only because it was sent to me. At least this time the Patch did not publish photos and names of the minors as it did when it reported on the flawed attendance records of the minor volunteer members of the McLean Community Association. Forever in cyberspace, those girls will have their names, photos and critical attack about running for a volunteer position and then not showing up linked. Every college, university or future employer will find it simply upon a search of their names. Granted, they should not have run for a volunteer position and not shown up, but they were excused from attending. Such reporting discourages others from volunteering in the community. Also, the Patch would be much more useful and read more frequently if it required readers to post under their real names. The political screed between anonymous posters is useless. No one is going to read 345 anonymous comments as recently happened in a political column. The Patch gives a voice to those who have nothing better to do than sling anonymous libel. Re the Pot issue, however, alcohol and marijuana are big problems in our high schools this year. Langley's principal Matt Ragone recently asked parents to be vigilant about watching their teens. He is hearing the old canard, "Well, they are going to do it anyway so they might as well do it in my basement" and he's asked parents to take better charge of their charges.
Joe Brenchick October 09, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Teenagers caught with marijuana – oh the horror, the horror.
diana bork October 09, 2012 at 06:12 PM
OK, Joe, that was very funny, and I laughed, but seriously, this is a timely issue because the principals are saying drugs are a huge problem this year. Huge. They've asked parents to "trust but verify". They've asked parents to call the parents hosting a party and verify that a parent will be in attendance and that no alcohol will be served. They've had to personally speak to parents who allow drinking and pot in their basement. They've had to take away graduation privileges from students who arrived (driving) for a football game so drunk they could not stand up. They had to bring in the police drug dogs to sniff out lockers (at great expense to the school). And to make matters even more confounding, I know from the mother network that some of the students carrying pot are bringing it home for their parents' use. Astonishing, but true.
Libby October 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Si it seems nothing has changed since I graduated from high school 20 years ago.
Thirsty22 October 09, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Every comment the same spam. Book not selling well?
Thirsty22 October 09, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Yes, I'm sure these leaders saw the medicinal value in an herb. That's what they were doing. Being leaders and thinkers and challenging the political establishment on the value of herb. Or they were just being stupid kids.
diana bork October 09, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Well, except that now you know not to inhale if you want to run for the Presidency.
Kim October 10, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I would like these students and their parents to know that I am thinking of them and hope they are okay. People make mistakes all the time. You will overcome this bump in the road of life.
dnal01 October 10, 2012 at 02:36 AM
i would just love to point out the fact that 99.99% of this article is totally false. none of this information is true and i dont know why you feel the need to post personal and private things about teenagers on the internet.
Sandra October 10, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Personally, I think those students deserve whatever punishment they get. If you want to be a leader, then you need to respect the law. Whether or not you think marijuana should be legalized, the fact remains that at this time it is illegal. This is just another example of kids not thinking things through before they take action. I think it is important to report these kinds of things because it might make others think twice before doing something like this.
Joe Brenchick October 10, 2012 at 08:42 AM
It seems that in some ways, little has changed since I graduated High School 35 years ago.
Joe Brenchick October 10, 2012 at 08:46 AM
Then you haven’t read or are aware of Barack Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreams_from_My_Father
Andrew Johnson October 10, 2012 at 01:47 PM
I like Patch and love the idea that I am intouch with the place I live. But schools have to have rules and anyone of our children that are doing some thing wrong have to understand that there is a price to be paid. They are dumb and we all have done some thing wrong in our life time. My son has gown through this and it is very hard on the family . It was a few years ago and Thank God it wasn't his senior year. These girls maybe in there 12th grade and if they are they may have a very hard time in passing this year. My son had a very hard time keeping his grades below a D average.
Andrew Johnson October 10, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Hey Joe a lot has changed from when you and I went to school. Take a look at some of the kids that have committed suicide with Fairfax zero tolerance rules. If you have never been through Fairfax hearing board then you have no idea how bad it is. You only feel like you have no rights what so ever. Yes 10 day wait that turns into 2 months before you even have any idea where your child will go to school . To start over in the middle of the year. Joe remember we use to have smoking courts . Not today they can not smoke at all on school grounds.
Joe Brenchick October 10, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Perhaps it is fortunate that I graduated from Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg Maine. It’s a semi private school that took in local as well as boarding students. The male dress code included a pack of cigarettes, a Zippo lighter and a folding Buck knife in a belt sheath! Not to mention that during hunting season, most of the cars in the parking lot had firearms in the trunk or locked in the gun rack of the truck. I shudder to think of the reaction that today’s Fairfax School Board would render for such behavior! Such were the days before the implementation of The Nanny State and the abandonment of self responsibility!
Rob October 11, 2012 at 02:41 AM
It was during a field trip (a school function) on a Tuesday (a school day), at 11:11am (during school hours). Am I missing something here? Why wouldn't the school system be disciplining the students for this?
Anonopus October 11, 2012 at 03:33 AM
If this was a random occurrence, or a a fortuitous event, that would be one thing, however drug and alcohol abuse is extremely common in this area within the demographic of high school aged people. Students are suspended for bringing an illegal drug to school and given second chances? Give me a break, this kids know the difference between right and wrong. Furthermore, let's not pretend like "boys will be boys" is a certifiable response to this issue. If consequences are not stricter, then those who suffer most are the kids. Being taught that though they have committed a crime, it's okay because they didn't know better only bolsters their mindset that what they did isn't that bad. In many cases these over-privledged students are repeat offenders who just get moved around the areas schools, as opposed to being expelled from the county. Get tough and make these delinquents grow up.
janet otersen October 12, 2012 at 02:26 AM
OMG, an FCPS student was caught with pot. Hang them in the village square and then let's throw stones. All the principals and teachers in FCPS who smoked pot when they were in high school can go first. Should I name names? Expulsion sounds good too. By God let's ruin these girls so they can't go to college and become drs or lawyers...or pot smoking Presidents! Are you people nuts? Send them for drug counseling and some community service and get them back in school. This too shall pass, girls...everyone makes mistakes. Don't let this deter you from your goals.
Pamela October 12, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Poor decision? Maybe, did you ever think that maybe other kids will read this story and think twice before they encounter unpon such stupidity. Why shouldn't the community know what they did this is a local community paper and not the NY Times.
Pamela October 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I have a teenager that is a member of DECA and I for one do not want her to have these girls as her leaders. Maybe they will learn now that there a consquences to there actions.
Voice October 13, 2012 at 02:42 AM
This is cyber bulling. You barley know what happened in the situation and you're writing about 16 year old girls? How old are you? These girls are probably going through hell right not trying to get back into school. How does posting this article in any way help the community. You're only ruining their lives and I hope you can live with that for the rest of your life Lauren. Before you start writing an article about what you think happened you should get your facts right.
Andrew Johnson October 13, 2012 at 10:22 PM
When I wrote I must have miss used my words. I said there are rules to every thing and there is a price to be paid. But I really think fairfax takes it way over the top. My son has gone through this and when you go up against the board for your meeting they are tough mean and your children has no rights. A criminal on the streets has more rights then my son when you are up against Fairfax. For first timers they should do community service for a month and with them out of school for 2 weeks is well enough. 2 students in the past have taken there own lives because of Fairfax. They say they have changed there ways lets see if they are true .
annon October 15, 2012 at 09:05 PM
If the schools and police caught every student that engaged in these activities.. schools would be a ghost town. They're teenagers, these things happen. People who don't know the girls who got caught and write on here saying how they should be punished isn't the way to deal with something like this. Sure put your two cents in and state you opinions, not as if anyone really cares, but don't take the situation into your own hands and say how they should be punished. Like some people said before they're all going through hell right now and if they could go back I'm sure they'd change they're choices in a heart beat; but they can't, and thats fine. Everyone makes mistakes, it takes a strong person to learn from those mistakes. I know these girls are strong and will learn and make it through, but these heartless comments aren't going to help whatsoever. You can't say they were being stupid kids because they decided to use a medicinal herb that's been prevalent throughout history for its benefits rather than risks; the only risks are ones we've created, making it illegal. I'm not going to sit here and try and fight the issue of marijuana legalization, but rather say that these girls weren't being "stupid" or "delinquents", rather curious kids. Community service or drug counseling as Janet put sounds a lot better than ruining these kids lives right as they are beginning..
Concerened Citizen December 11, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Thank you Janet. Couldn't have said it better !!! The Prohibition on pot - what a farce. Not to mention the Scarlet letter for these kids... Counsel them - no more. WE have substance abuse problems in this country because of these Puritanical ideals that are ridiculous.
Dave Webster December 11, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Diana, I personally like the ability for readers to post anonymously. Let's not forget the the Federalist Papers were published under assumed names. Also, Benjamin Franklin regularly allowed pen names to be used in his publications (Including his own pen names.)

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