Marijuana offers many health benefits, but when it gets into the hands of children, it’s a real concern. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that officials are up in arms after finding San Antonio police threw THC products in school dumpsters. Read on to find out more about what happened.
Why San Antonio Police Threw THC Products in School Dumpsters
A KSAT investigation found that police officers of the North East Independent School District (NEISD) in San Antonio, TX repeatedly threw THC products in school dumpsters in the form of cannabis that they had confiscated from students.
The matter raises concerns in terms of how the police force is handling felony-related evidence. Locals are also questioning why the police would make marijuana products so accessible to the public and especially children.
The investigation analyzed 371 NEISD 2022 reports of controlled substance penalties for substance 2 drugs including THC. They showed that the officers would seize the drugs, often in the form of vape pens, test them for the presence of drugs, and then discard them instead of placing them in the department evidence room.
Officers would typically rinse out the liquid THC from the vape cartridges, which would render them inoperable, and throw them away discarding them in trash cans only accessible to NEISD faculty and staff.
However, reports also show that San Antonio police threw THC products in school dumpsters in the form of ‘leafy marijuana’ on several occasions. They also revealed a gummy infused with THC was thrown into a faculty trash can.
Many other reports contained no information on where the products ended up.
“It should not have happened. The officers were fully aware of how discarding products is supposed to work,” said NEISD Executive Director of Communications Aubrey Chancellor.
Chancellor confirmed that the department has introduced new protocols and is retraining officers in drug seizure procedures following THC products in school dumpster findings.
“We’re glad this was brought to our attention so we could take the opportunity to relook at things to see if that is really the best practice and moving forward that isn’t going to occur anymore,” Chancellor said. “Moving forward, all of the officers are going to take anything and everything and take it back to the evidence room.”
NEISD officers declined to make Police Chief Wally McCampbell available for an interview regarding the THC products in school dumpsters stating that he was “extremely busy” with day-to-day operations.
Concern Over No Charges Filed
While the THC products in school dumpsters are a major concern, reports also show officers were hesitant to criminally charge students for THC possession. Instead, they would allow school officials to handle the cases on an administrative level.
In September, a Reagan High School student was found with two Cake brand vape pens in his backpack. A search revealed 12 more vape pens, a grinder with marijuana residue, and rolling papers in the student’s vehicle.
An officer tested the pens for THC and destroyed the contraband off campus, but the student was not criminally charged.
A spokeswoman for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office said that the DA office accepts any THC report for review as long as it’s accompanied by a lab report verifying THC was found.
THC possession is considered a felony in the state of Texas with the severity of punishment increasing based on how much of the drug is found. Defendants can face harsher penalties if they were discovered to be holding drugs in drug-free zones such as schools.
Chancellor confirmed that the matter was not handled properly and that it has been addressed. However, she declined to state what disciplinary action is used for officers who dump THC products in school dumpsters and improperly handle drug evidence in other ways.
Last March, a student at Legacy of Education Excellence High School found a THC vape pen in the trash and gave it to another student to try.
In September, a student at the same school was found with two vape pens. An officer found it to test positive for THC and then threw THC products in school dumpsters.
In October, another student at the school was thought to be under the influence. After further investigation, he was found to have marijuana and a vape pen that tested positive for THC. Both ended up as THC products in school dumpsters.
Later in October, a student at MacArthur High School got sick after ingesting a THC gummy given to her by another student. The other student was found to have a gummy that tested positive for TYC. The gummy and test kit were later thrown into a dumpster accessible to staff only.
The THC products in school dumpsters and another improper handling of drug evidence by the NEISD officers are not in-line with the acceptable protocol. In most instances, police will photograph the contraband, seal it in an envelope and turn it in to a police evidence custodian. The custodian will log it into the reporting system and place it in a secured evidence room.
“The evidence will only leave this secured evidence room to be tested by a forensic lab, to be presented in court, or to be destroyed after a court order has been completed,” an NISD spokesperson said.
Are Schools a Bad Influence?
One woman is considering taking her daughter out of MacArthur High School as she feels it’s a bad influence.
She reported one incident in which she was called to pick up her daughter at school because she was “incoherent” and in need of “medical attention”.
After an emergency room visit, it was discovered that the girl had THC in her system.
Another time, the mother was called because her daughter was missing from campus. She later returned to campus showing signs of intoxication. She was brought out of the school in a wheelchair.
The girl was later brought to the hospital and revealed to have an ethanol level of .221 in her blood, nearly three times over the allowable limit to use a motor vehicle.
“I’m hurt and I’m angry and scared for my children. I am a single mom,” the mother said.