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Dealing in school

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


Keep drugs away from our kidsí schools ó everyone can likely agree with that goal, right? Tough penalties for the guy who gets caught pushing drugs on a kid makes sense, donít you think? Should we throw the book at anyone who gets caught ďdealingĒ drugs on school property?

In Indiana, itís a Class A felony for a person to deliver to another certain drugs or controlled substances on a school bus, or within 1000 feet of school property, public park, housing complex or youth program center. A Class A felony is punishable up to 50 years in prison.

Meet Brian. Heís not a real person but was supposed to graduate high school in a few weeks. Brian is from a small Indiana town. He was a good student, active with his church and played on the baseball team. He didnít drink or smoke. He planned to study architecture in college.

When Brian was in the 8th grade, he started taking medication after being diagnosed with ADHD by his family physician. Once he found the right combination of medications, Brianís grades improved and so did his behavior.

A few months ago, Brian injured his ankle during a high school baseball game. As it turned out, the injury required Brian to undergo surgery. Brian was prescribed a painkiller after the surgery, which helped with the throbbing pain. He didnít use all of the pain pills, but he kept them just in case he re-injured the ankle or the pain returned.
Brian celebrated his 18th birthday on crutches. He missed the rest of the baseball season but still attended all of the games. After the season ended, one of Brianís teammates told Brian that his back had been hurting for days. That same friend also told Brian that he was falling behind with his studies because he wasnít able to concentrate. He said his mind seemed scattered. Brian told his friend that he should try his ADHD medicine and pain pills. His friend said he would try anything.

The next morning, Brian put two pain pills and two ADHD medication pills into a small piece of tin foil. When he saw his friend at school, he handed the pills to his friend and told him which pills to take for pain and which to take for concentration.

Brianís friend told some other friends that he had drugs in his pocket. After lunch that same day, an assistant principal removed Brian from class and escorted him to his office. Brian admitted that he brought four pills to school and gave them to his friend.
A police officer showed up while Brian was in the office. The assistant principal asked Brian to fill out a written statement. Brian completed his statement admitting to giving the pills to his friend in the senior hallway bathroom.
Brianís parents arrived and the assistant principal advised them that Brian was suspended pending an expulsion hearing. The following week, the prosecutor charged Brian as an adult with two counts of Dealing in a Schedule I, II or III Controlled Substance, both Class A felonies. The judge scheduled the trial for July.

Brianís attorney visited him in jail the other day to tell him that the prosecutor had offered a plea agreement that called for a 20-year prison sentence.

Brian didnít sell any pills. He didnít make any money. He wasnít ďdealing.Ē Yes, Brian screwed up. No question about that. What he did was wrong.

But, Brian is a drug dealer under the law: one who preys on kids inside a school. Good thing the drug laws are so tough, right? With Brian locked up in prison for many years, shouldnít our schools be a lot safer?


Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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