• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Lollipops promoted as 'pot suckers' possessed by students

A handful of students at Woodford County High School were in possession of lollipops portrayed as containing marijuana a couple of weeks ago, according to Principal Rob Akers. He said school officials have not encountered any more of the candy suckers in the days since students were found in possession of them on Nov. 4. Three of the lollipops were sent to the Kentucky State Police lab for testing to determine if they contain marijuana, according to Lt. Michael Fortney, public information officer for the Versailles Police Department. The students possessing the lollipops could face criminal charges if test results determine that the suckers contained an illegal drug, but Akers said, "We feel pretty confident that there was some kind of a drug in the suckers. We're just not 100 percent sure what it was." The students who possessed or received the lollipops faced similar punishments (based on the school's code of conduct) for their actions. "These suckers were being promoted - by those who had them - as being pot suckers," said Akers. "And those who were receiving them or paying for them were trying to get them as pot suckers." Asked if drugs are an issue at WCHS, Akers described school as a "microcosm of society. And if it is in the society then there's a good chance that it's going be in the school as well." One of his biggest concerns as a school administrator is the rising number of states where marijuana has been legalized, which results in more edible marijuana products becoming available. "Because things are being produced (containing marijuana in other states)," said Akers, "I think that there's always the opportunity that we may end up with those things making there way into our community." However, the lollipops found at WCHS were homemade, according to Fortney. Akers said he received a telephone call from Versailles Police on Nov. 3 informing him that he and his staff needed to keep their eyes open for lollipops in their building because candy suckers allegedly containing marijuana were found in the community the night before. "Based on some of their work," said Akers, "we had an idea of what to look for and who we needed to look at as well. So they gave us some information that was helpful for us finding some stuff in the building." A picture was provided to teachers so they knew how to identify the lollipops, and the students "who had been involved in one way, shape or form with the suckers" were identified the following day, Nov. 4, according to Akers. "We had some (students) that had (the lollipops) in their possession so we were able to collect a couple of them that day," he explained. "And then it was tracking down where they got them, where they came from." This recent occurrence does not signal a rise in drug-related offenses at WCHS, according to Akers. "Other than this situation," he said, "we haven't been dealing with it as much" this school year. Even so, Akers encouraged parents to remain supportive partners in addressing drug issues. "The more that they are aware of what their (children and our) students are doing at home or outside of the home (it) is very helpful to us. We will continue to try to provide the safest and most secure and healthiest environment that we can here. "The bottom line is that in any high school in America that you could go to, including a lot of private schools, there's a chance that there could be a substance there that shouldn't be there on any given day and time. We really rely on the relationships that we have with parents and kids to help us be able to make this the safest environment possible." Woodford County Schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins said the district will explore opportunities to work with local law enforcement to educate their teachers and school administrators about how they can identify edible marijuana products.

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