Ellsworth students expelled for pot-laced candies

ELLSWORTH — Three students accused of bringing marijuana-laced candies to school on the morning of Jan. 2 have been expelled “indefinitely,” Ellsworth School Superintendent Dan Higgins confirmed on Friday.

The students, two from Ellsworth and one from Waltham, were charged with aggravated trafficking in Schedule Z drugs after another student came forward and alerted School Resource Officer Amie Torrey to the candies.

Police said the sweets, identical to Jolly Ranchers, had been infused with marijuana that the students allegedly purchased from Adam Bradshaw, 19, of Ellsworth. Bradshaw also has been charged with aggravated trafficking. The names of the students are not being released because they are minors.

Members of the School Board, the boys and their parents attended the hearing at City Hall on Thursday night. Higgins could not confirm details, but said the hearing followed statutory proceedings.

“Hearings are very straightforward,” Higgins said. “There is a presentation of evidence, an opportunity for the student and the family to respond, and if there are witnesses there’s an opportunity for cross-examination before the board deliberates, per the statute.”

There are two options for expulsion. The first involves excluding students for all or part of the remainder of the school year. In cases like this, where students are expelled indefinitely, school officials work with parents to develop a plan for the children to return to class. After the students have completed the plan, parents can petition the board for readmission.

When asked whether expulsion is the most effective disciplinary policy for students in such cases, Higgins responded: “When school administration makes a recommendation to the board it’s because they’ve determined that the students violation of policy warrants a consequence befitting of an expulsion.”

Court dates for the three minors are set for March 9. Adam Bradshaw will appear in court on Feb. 20.

A fourth student also was expelled indefinitely during the hearing on Thursday for an unrelated incident. According to Higgins, the incident, which occurred on Dec. 20, involved a “breach of school policy and code of conduct, a violation of the peace and usefulness of the school.”

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

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