As much as we strive to have schools as a safe place for our children, drug use and sales in our schools are a sad reality. Drug use and drug arrests of students can have long lasting effects on the lives of the individuals involved, but the use and arrests are not confined to the just the students.
One afternoon, dozens of Lake Central High School students crowded around the front entrance of the school building clapping and jeering as one of their former teachers was arrested and taken into custody. On November 22, 2017, Samantha M. Cox was escorted out of school by police after one student videotaped her openly using cocaine in an empty classroom. The student allegedly posted the video to social media, after which school administrators authorized a search of Cox’s desk and classroom. The impromptu investigation revealed cocaine paraphernalia—cigarette papers filled with pieces of tin foil containing cocaine residue and a straw. Upon questioning, the teacher confessed to buying almost $200 worth of cocaine before school started. According to her statement, “[She] used cocaine for four years and felt sick that morning.”
Cox later pleaded guilty to the charge of cocaine possession and will be sentenced to 12 months of probation under the current terms of her plea agreement. In addition, she will need to enter rehab to complete a drug treatment program while on probation. If she does not complete the drug treatment program, Cox faces 12 months in jail. Cox has already completed a 30-day inpatient drug treatment program. If Cox completes her probation, she will be able to petition the court to reduce her felony drug conviction to a Class A misdemeanor, with the help of a drug crimes defense attorney. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14, 2018.
Why Parents Should be Worried
An overwhelming number of students have reported drug possession in their schools. A national survey shows that at least 41% of student participants admitted they had seen drugs sold on campus—24% admitted to having seen drugs sold in their neighborhood. An alarming 64% of students said they would not report the students that were seen selling or giving away hard drugs. Parents are rallying for the Department of Education to ramp up its drug-free policy by performing searches of student lockers and randomly drug testing teachers. In the survey, one parent admitted to feeling “afraid to send [my] child to school.” Side effects of hard drugs such as cocaine significantly threaten the well-being of students. Some of the side effects include:
- Increased adrenaline
- Violent behavior
In Illinois and under federal law, possession, distributing, and selling cocaine is a serious felony. Possessing less than 15 grams of the drug can mean a fine up to $25,000 and one to three years in jail. 15-100 grams equals a mandatory four to 15 years in jail. Penalties for cocaine vary depending on the severity of the crime (for example, selling is more serious than possession), the amount of cocaine, prior offenses, and aggravating factors. One example of an aggravating factor would be selling cocaine within 1000 feet of a school.
What if My Child is Caught with Drugs?
Drug charges, even seemingly small charges, can affect your children’s lives in big ways. Their ability to get into school and later to become employed may be jeopardized as employers are allowed to question applicants about their criminal history. Pursuing education can become difficult since criminal convictions can possibly effect admissions and student loans. Furthermore, your family’s reputation may become damaged, affecting relationships with others.
The drug crime defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson help people who have been charged with possession, and more. We are former narcotics prosecutors who aim to make fighting for your freedom the focus of your defense. Our team is compassionate, professional, and knowledgeable in drug crimes and is committed to working hard on your case. Chicago residents in the Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, and DuPage counties can contact us at 847.577.8700 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation.
(image courtesy of Redd Angelo)