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02/13/2006 06:08 AM ID: 52832 Permalink   

Powdered Sugar Science Project Leads to Felony Possession


A 12-year-old, 6th grade middleschooler of Aurora, Chicago, who brought powdered sugar for his school science project has been charged with felony possession of a look-alike drug.

The boy joked to friends that he had a bag of cocaine. A custodian upon hearing the conversation reported it, earning the boy a free trip to jail and a two week school suspension. The school handbook scrictly prohibits look-alike drugs.

Upon conviction the boy most likely faces up to five years probation and could be placed in a residential treatment program.

    WebReporter: LuxFestinus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
This is screwed. He was not trying to sell it and its only sugar. Better go raid your lockal shopping center, they are seling tons of 'drug look-alike' substances.
  by: ssxxxssssss   02/13/2006 06:13 AM     
  we're losing the war on look-alike drugs  
they should also bust kids with stamps because they look like tabs of lsd, and kids with mushrooms on their pizza. tell all the kids who take medication that they'll be in jail too since their pills look alot like illegal ones. all the teachers better be punished too since the ground up chalk below their chalkboards looks like coke. no wonder these kids are doing such horrible things like bringing sugar to school when the teachers set such bad examples!
  by: manilaryce     02/13/2006 06:42 AM     
  man, y'all need to stop....  
now you tell me you honestly wouldn't have
suspended the kid for this.

What would y'all have done, since so far nobody has
given a legit disiplinary action for this.

Let's use some common sense. This kid brought a
bag of sugar to school, and said in a conversation
that it was a bag of coke! Now, it's a basic rule that
if you overhear drug talk, YOU MUST REPORT IT.

What if it was a real bag of coke? Janitor would have
been fired, would have been reported on SN,
everyone would have went "Janitor should have said

Plus, why would a kid even do something stupid
like this? Thats like bringing a bag of herbs to
school and saying you got a dime bag of weed.
Hrm, the logical reason was he was planning on
tricking someone and making money off of this
fake bag.

What were the principal/super suppose to do?! Sniff
the bag? Taste the bag? "Oh...that's sugar. After
school detention, my office..." What if it was real?
Would have been diasterous.

Plus, this meant the police were sent to the school
most likely over some bull. In Chicago, the police
are needed on the streets every me.
Not to determine look-a-like drugs...

He desvered every day suspened he got/getting. He
won't get the 5 years probabtion, but will get some
probation time. And yes...he's a dumbass, and my
opinion is you must be on the sugar in the bag if
you try and slant this into some "bust this and bust
that" crap.

You don't bring a fake bag of sugar to school if
you're not trying to trick a kid or two, and you don't
bust kids for licking stamps because it's OBVIOUS in
the difference.

I have noticed SN has the most radical people
ever...this isn't a hard article to read. Just takes
common sense...
  by: hotrock11     02/13/2006 06:57 AM     
well i HAD a smart ass comment but u obviously put way more thought into it than i did...
  by: citronym   02/13/2006 07:05 AM     
>> Plus, why would a kid even do something stupid like this? Thats like bringing a bag of herbs to school and saying you got a dime bag of weed. Hrm, the logical reason was he was planning on tricking someone and making money off of this fake bag. >>

Um, the article says that he brought it so he could use it in a science project. How you missed that is beyond me, this isn't a hard article to read ya know? Just takes common sense...
Reminds me of the time when a school called the bomb squad because some kid brought a huge burrito. Pplz are getting to paranoid these days.....
  by: mikemil828   02/13/2006 07:21 AM     
First off, the kids is almost certainly bullshitting. Since when do you bring materials to school when you don't even have an authorised science project (check the source article - kid alledges that he wanted to ASK permission to do a science project on it) - maybe he was eager, but I doubt it. More likely, it was a gag, and he didnt remember the rules.
  by: lauriesman     02/13/2006 08:20 AM     
  hotrock is an idiot  
you said "SN has the most radical people."

you are a radical person, you are a moron.

Who the hell cares that a kid brought a stupid bag of sugar to school and said it was coke. Kids make stupid mistakes. Even if it was a joke and not a science project, the fact is that he didn't have coke at all. The kid is 12. If the school handbook says this warrants a suspension, then so be it, but it is a really stupid reason to suspend a kid from school.

I still can't believe you said "SN has such radical people." I think most people with common sense would reject the suspension, and side with this kid and his mother.
  by: mingr   02/13/2006 08:39 AM     
"school science project" it was a school science project. Kids are expected to use their imagination to the extreme, they are expected to engage in some heavy "destructive art" of which we have all been deprived since everything is so well packaged for us on TV and on the supermarket shelf.

Maybe Hasbro should package some "School Projects" and sell them to schools so kids don't risk creating something STUPID!!
  by: kmazzawi     02/13/2006 09:46 AM     
"The boy, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, said he brought the bag to school to ask his science teacher if he could run an experiment using sugar."

No, it wasn't a science project (in the terms of an officially sanctioned science project), in fact, the kid didn't have permission to do anything with the sugar yet.

Perhaps he was eager, and planned on the eventuality that the teacher would say yes, or perhaps its a load of bull concocted to try explain away what he was up to. Notice that the boy also puts the blame on the other students for pretending it was cocaine.
  by: lauriesman     02/13/2006 10:00 AM     
  the facts  
regardless of what you think about the kid, here is all we know for certain:

he brought sugar to school, joked it was cocaine, and was charged with felony possession.

he had SUGAR. the most they should be able to charge him with is lying.
  by: manilaryce     02/13/2006 11:54 AM     
Actually, we dont KNOW that at all - we're told that's what the boy said to the reporters. We dont know what he actually said, or what was discussed between school officials. We're just assuming he's being honest.

The school has zero-tolerance policies, which means that the administration is bound by those policies to take full steps on first offences.

I could paint, using just the facts we have, a very differnet scenario, that to me is much more likely, but that wouldnt necessarily be any more true.

So, it's an opinion.

Here's what we do know.

The kid brought powdered sugar to school
The kid was overhead saying its cocaine
The kid was disciplined as per the school handbook

What we are told
The kid was explicitly joking
The kid did not say it was cocaine first, it was the other boys
The kid only brought it to school to ask if he could do science experiments with it

Questions I would consider, if I was in the administration:

1. Where did the event take place.. open in public, or in the toilets or a secluded area

2. How much powdered sugar did the boy bring

3. What experiments did the boy intend to do with it, if granted permission.

Zero tolerance policies suck, because you can't make a mistake, and noone is perfect - however if a zero tolerance policy exists then the administration is bound to follow them. They are set by the board of directors, not the principal.
  by: lauriesman     02/13/2006 01:45 PM     
  maybe this is similar to....  
.... what if a student brought a fake gun to school and said he was going to shoot some people?

How many of us went to high-school and heard about some bozo trying to sell a bag of catnip to someone? heheh
  by: theironboard     02/13/2006 02:32 PM     
  quit catching feelings mingr  
i sorry if you felt you were included in that

i mean, if you're not one of the high radicals who
think each article somehow has a consipracy
element to it, or it's time to change the world based
off the article...

  by: hotrock11     02/13/2006 03:21 PM     
Well as much as I hate to I am going to have to agree with lauriesman over this situation.

You don't take a substance that looks like a class A drug to school to ask a teacher if you can do a science project with it. What you do is you go to your science teacher and say, "I'd like to do this experiment please." Once you have the okay, then you bring in the sugar. I'm not sure what kind of school allows people to bring in random items to do experiments on without prior clearance. This certainly makes the boys explanation seem untrue.

I'm sure I made some jokes about committing crimes when I was 12, but to be in a bathroom with some other boys with a bag of material that looks like coke? That's just plain stupid.

So while the liberal in my initially felt sorry for the boy and that the authorities had over-reacted I think case I don't think they did.

They over-hear a boy pretending to have drugs. He has possession of an unauthorized substance that looks like drugs. Kids that young are doing and selling drugs. So all in all, tough luck.

Now sure if they go ahead and proceed with criminal charges it would be a massive overkill for a childish prank. Although it is possible he intended to sell it as drugs to make some money.

So on balance I support the suspension, but think the police and courts system need to butt out at this point.
  by: ZCT     02/13/2006 03:27 PM     
  no smoking  
so does this mean on a cold day on a playground with no smoking... a kid makes the v sign and "pretends" to blow smoke, exhaling out the breat mist he can get done for smoking?

worst comparison ever XD
  by: koultunami     02/13/2006 05:14 PM     
I don't know what I was smoking when I posted that last one. Horrible typos. I guess agreeing with Lauriesman made me feel weird ;)
  by: ZCT     02/13/2006 05:21 PM     
  Kids get kicked out for lesser offences  
... just threatening another student to dunk their head in the toilet is worthy of dismissal.

Learn all about it in the classic Peanuts TV special:

"It's a Cruel World, Charlie Brown."
  by: theironboard     02/13/2006 05:42 PM     
Don't you love this countries new motto "The rule's matter the most".

They wonder why kid's these day's have such a negative outlook on life, well there it is right there people, to think that in a couple of years i'll be hearin teenagers saying "ya i've already been arrested twice" "well i've been arrested three time's and one's a rape charge" makes me sick to my stomach.

The janitor did what he was supposed to do, the school reacted in a way that makes me wonder how long until the government decides it time for "bad" children to be "re-educated" and send's 'em of to some clockwork orange nightmare "for the good of the people".

I can't believe people put up with this absurd heave handed bullshit.

Tell me this if according to law they're
too young to make decisions for themselves, then why are we hitting them with thing's like this?

Thing's like this convince me this country has no future as we'll just grind away our foundation ourselves starting with our children.
  by: splicer   02/13/2006 06:26 PM     
  You are all crazy dawgs!!  
You people saying he should just be let go. What this kid did was illegal and he knew it was illegal. There is really no explanation why you would pretend sugar was a drug, and pretend smoking is nothing like what he did. It is more like he brough in a fake gun in which you would feel the punishment did fit the crime.

I say suspend the boy, drop the legal charges, but maybe tac on some community service.
  by: RoBBoB     02/13/2006 06:49 PM     
I can't believe people here actually believe this kid is deserving what he gets.... I mean, some sort of punishment would be fine, but getting a criminal record JUST for bringing in some sugar and pretending it's a drug? Come on.....

I don't know about you people, but I remember in my elementary school there was a short little time when people in my class used to make fake joints out of paper and pretend to smoke them.

Kids copy what they see on TV, and for some minor offense that didn't hurt anyone, the punishment should be more of a warning, not a full scale crucifixion.
  by: Yheti   02/13/2006 08:17 PM     
I find that a true crime that you and your school yard buddies that it was fun and cool to smoke fake paper joints at such a young age.
  by: RoBBoB     02/13/2006 08:44 PM     
Heyyyy did I say I was doing it as well? No. ;)

I'm not saying it isn't a stupid thing to do, but it's definitely not worthy of such a harsh sentence.
  by: Yheti   02/13/2006 08:54 PM     
  Dumb kid  
Fact is, if you have something that looks like a drug, and try to pass it off as a drug, you get busted the same as if it really were that drug. This kid was stupid and deserves punishment, 5 years is too harsh, but it needs to shake him up for the rest of his days.
  by: Liberaliminator   02/13/2006 09:59 PM     
Do you honestly think this kid would grow up to be a drug pusher if he gets off without a criminal record?

And what type of psychological reaction do you think this will have on someone who isn't even old enough to fully comprehend why he got such a harsh penalty for what, in his eyes, was an innocent prank?

In my opinion, dropping such a harsh penalty on this kid will lead him to do worse, instead of better.
  by: Yheti   02/14/2006 12:20 AM     
“Fact is, if you have something that looks like a drug, and try to pass it off as a drug, you get busted the same as if it really were that drug.”

- He was talking to his friend and joking that he had some drugs. That’s not really the same as trying to ‘pass it off as a drug.’ But even with that said you talk about busting children in possession of something that looks like a drug as if it were a great idea.

“This kid was stupid and deserves punishment,”

- Kids do a lot of stupid things. This is why we give them no real legal rights and make decisions for them. If they were as mature as an adult the driving age would be around 11. I’m sure that when you were twelve you said or did something stupid. Does that mean you should have a permanent record of that mistake to haunt you for the rest of your life?

A sensible punishment for this ‘crime’ would be a detention to write an essay about the dangers of drug addiction. Perhaps a short suspension. Or maybe in the case of America a few swats of the paddle (I know you guys still love to beat your children). But once the reality of this situation was discovered there is no need to waste taxpayer’s money using the legal system to further punish the child.

“5 years is too harsh,”

- No shit.

“but it needs to shake him up for the rest of his days.”

- Why? Because a TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY makes a silly mistake he should be punished in a way that will ‘shake him up for the rest of his days?’ Are you kidding? What did you have in mind? A couple of days in the stocks in the village square? A branding maybe? How about some electric shock treatment or a public flogging?

Seriously there is absolutely no need for such harsh treatment in order to get a point across. This zero tolerance zero common sense approach to all the social problems of America has not really worked. It’s about as ridiculous as the war on drugs itself. I don’t think anything else needs to happen to this boy. He has already been arrested, suspended, and probably feels like quite an idiot right now. I find it hard to believe he is going to go back to his subversive sugar smuggling after all this hassle.
  by: ZCT     02/14/2006 12:44 AM     
  @ everyone condemning the kid  
do you all really think the action is worthy of the punishment? sure, he shouldn't have said the sugar was coke. but what is accomplished by charging him with felony possession?

it amazes me how hypocritical people can be about this. i'm sure most of you have joked about things being illegal substances when they really weren't. as Yheti said, most kids have rolled a piece of paper up and pretended it's a joint. if not that, i'm sure you all have pretended to smoke candy cigarettes or had big league chew without being charged with a felony.

making a comment about the sugar being a drug and actually trying to pass it off as a drug are two different things. he didn't try to sell some to classmates, or pretend to get high from it. all he did was make one remark. once again, did the punishment match the crime?
  by: manilaryce     02/14/2006 12:50 AM     
  residential treatment program?  
The hell are they going to treat? His need to pretend that white powder is cocaine? His imagination is out of control!
  by: ericcode   02/14/2006 05:17 AM     
  Look out!  
Big Bro is at it again.. God Bless Amerika
  by: cbuilding   02/14/2006 05:56 AM     
  ITs the felony,  
not the suspension thats so amazingly ridiculious. These laws arose because [eople would sell items to undercoever agents sayitns good shit and ideed it was shit, not grass...
  by: MmmMan     02/14/2006 07:13 AM     
Actually, Zero tolerance as introduced because other methods were not working. Unfortunately it prosecutes innocent mistakes and deliberate actions alike. If you want to blame someone though, blame the society, kids and poor parenting that forced schools to take such exaggerated and desperate measures.

Blame the spiraling insurance costs schools face, and the lititgation happy parents who try to see when their kid stubs a toe.

Schools can't afford to take any risks. Unfortunately, it is the genuine innocent mistakes that get caught in the net.
  by: lauriesman     02/14/2006 09:19 AM     
I think he needs to be punished further. Public hanging is in order...
  by: almighty_bunghole756   02/14/2006 12:06 PM     
It's more than that.

America is a society of extremes. People seem to be taught in black and white and never shades of gray. It's just the way the culture is here. Zero tolerance appeals for the same reason the absurd war on drugs appeals. The same reason they once supported prohibition. Corrupt politicians make extreme decisions to appear tough on whatever social issue they wish to be seen to be dealing with.

Many of the problems that America faces could be solved with a calmer middle of the road approach. But that doesn't seem to appeal to the typical American. Subtlety does not seem to have much of a voice here.

My wife’s old job involved a lot of social work. You just would not believe how many scenarios I would hear about with the teens that she worked with. Authorities would get involved over various issues and on almost every occasion they would take an extreme heavy handed approach that totally flew in the face of common sense. In almost all cases the attitude was that taking a less extreme approach would fail. They were always looking to make examples out of people rather than trying to be reasonable or helpful.

One example I’ve seen certainly in this area is one of the police. Around here if you are pulled over for speeding you are getting a ticket, period. No discussion, no compromise, just tough luck. Back in England you get pulled over and very often unless you become belligerent they give you a warning. It’s just one of the cultural examples I have seen of a zero tolerance culture.

I don’t have time to go into more detail, but I assure you zero tolerance is not just some buzz word that schools made up, it is a reflection of a rigid society of extremes.
  by: ZCT     02/14/2006 02:31 PM     
  @ZCT off topic  
About the traffic tickets... Not sure about where you live but where Im at the police have quotas that they have to meet on the number of tickets to dollars they give out. Tickets are a huge source of revenue for our local city/county/state governments here... Cops around here will pull you over for even the most minor infraction.
  by: slavefortheman     02/14/2006 06:07 PM     
  @slavefortheman (off topic)  
See if that's true then I have a major problem with it. The police are supposed to protect and serve not go round acting as a tax collector on the unlucky.

Let's face it there is no driver who has never broken the speed limit. So it just takes someone to be in the wrong place at the wrong time at the wrong speed and they are caught. They now have to pay a fine or pay for some kind of bullshit training course. Despite the lies the cops tell you if you take the course or not it will increase your insurance costs.

So just because of one unfortunate incident the long term cost in terms of insurance rates and the fine or course could be hundreds of dollars.

All that kind of stuff does is create resentment and make it seem like the police are 'out to get' people as opposed to helping the community. My wife got a warning ticket for being 1 mph over the speed limit. She recently got a real ticket because a cop was waiting on a bridge where there is some signage ambiguity. She once got a ticket in a ‘construction zone’ which cost extra despite the fact there is no construction and has not been any sign of any in the past six years.

It's just a bad idea and is of no benefit to anyone. I'd rather pay a few dollars more on my tax than play the cop lottery and get pulled over for a minor infraction which ends up costing me hundreds of dollars. I don’t want to see cops trolling around looking to ‘catch people out’ I want to see cops solving crime and serving the community. We all want to see crime reduced, but certainly from my experience the cops around here know the most awkward places to wait where there is some confusion or ambiguity about the speed limit or a section of road where the limits change rapidly and they know they can catch someone out. Like I said, it’s precisely this kind of petty minded police work that creates divisions between cops and the public, when they should be forming relations with the communities they serve to build trust which will ultimately help them solve crime.

I also don't see that this is the great money spinner you claim it to be. After all there are cost associated with writing and processing tickets, the time and money when a cop has to show up in court to testify, the true court costs, the admin and paperwork etc. Not to mention the incalculable costs of lack of public co-operation with the police because their trust in them has been diminished.
  by: ZCT     02/14/2006 09:20 PM     
  Hard to second guess..  
the school and court decision. I have seen kids caught with look-alikes who were actually selling it and were pissed they were exposed. It sounds like the kid was just messing around to see what would happen - now he found out. Kind of like 'I bet I can convince the school that I really have coke. Won't they look stupid when they find out its only sugar?' Saying, 'I brought it for science'doesn't really guarantee he really brought it for science.
  by: lateach   02/15/2007 01:58 PM     
  This s bizarre  
wheneer it comes to having prvleges like sex, driving, drnking, and whaever kids are always to young and to imature to know what's best. When it comes to infractions like this suddenly they're treated like adults. No wonder kids are growing up so cynical.
  by: jaded fox     02/15/2007 02:09 PM     
  Could have been avoided  
My fiancé is a teacher and they have drug test kits in the school that they use before calling the cops. That would have short-circuited this whole debacle and nipped it in the bud. Look-alike-drugs??? What the F! That shouldn’t even be constitutional. Next they will be charging people with felonies for what they think…oh, that’s right, they already do. Now I’m afraid to go to the grocery store, that damn place is full of look-alike-drugs. What a load of tripe. The government is losing the war on drugs so now they are going to make anything that even looks like a drug illegal. WTF! The hysteria has gone on long enough. If they are going to charge this kid with possession of look-alike-drugs they should also arrest the parents for supplying the look-alike-drugs and the store manager that sold them the look-alike-drugs and the manufacturer that made the look-alike-drugs and the farmer that grew the crop it was refined from. Let’s get to the bottom of the look-alike-drug market and stop it at the source. Felony charges, BS! Give me a break. What kind of Nazi Fascist crap is that? I sure am glad to know I’m a slave to the government and all the insanity they can think up. I can’t believe how far downhill this country has gone in just the last 50 years. Personal freedom is a thing of the past. Civil rights no longer exist. We have allowed to government to reduce us to serfs, kowtowing to any and all badgering and civil rights abuse. This school needs sued for child abuse.

I once built a 5 foot tall Tesla coil for a junior high science project. Shot lightning bolts all over the cafeteria and scared the hell out of the principle. I didn’t get expelled. I used to bring a gun to school and drop it off at the office and put the ammo in my locker. I’d pick it up after school and walk 8 miles, hunting my way home. I never got expelled. I distilled alcohol in chemistry class made from wine I fermented in chemistry class. I never got expelled. I extracted caffeine from No-Doze in Chem class, I never got expelled. There are some great chemistry experiments you can do with sugar, it contains a lot of energy. I feel sorry for the kids that missed out on the experiment he was going to do.

<Rant over>
Oh, and by the way, the link doesn’t work. ?
  by: Valkyrie123     02/15/2007 02:55 PM     
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