Stewart Co. school leaders step up enforcement after drug scare - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Stewart Co. school leaders step up enforcement after drug scare

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Officials confiscated these seeds from students. Officials confiscated these seeds from students.
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DOVER, TN (WSMV) -

Stewart County High School leaders vow to step up their drug enforcement efforts after a dangerous substance sent five students to the hospital Wednesday.

Investigators say the kids ingested Hawaiian Baby Wood Rose seeds, which can cause powerful hallucinations and several dangerous symptoms like agitation and abdominal pain.

At best guess, between 10 and 15 students experimented with the seeds, and five of them were treated and released from Gateway Medical Center after stepping forward with symptoms.

"We've never heard of Hawaiian Baby Wood Rose. We didn't know what that was," said Stewart County Director of Schools Dr. Phillip Wallace.

Now, school leaders said Thursday they want to send the school and community a clear zero-tolerance message about the drug scare. Suspensions will be on the way, along with a changing focus on drug education.

"It's just, you know, why would you do something so stupid? Why would you ruin your life or possibly take your life from your parents and your friends? I mean, it's just a stupid mistake," said Stewart County senior Zachery Hager.

The principal now believes two or three freshmen bought the seeds online and brought them to campus.

Then, at least 8 to 12 additional 9th graders either smelled, touched, ingested or had possession of the drug.

The effects, described as a "trip," landed five of them in the hospital Wednesday night.

"Certainly, the school, there's school board policies, there's school policies that will dictate what kind of consequences the schools will issue. And, of course, there will be consequences through the juvenile justice system as well," Wallace said.

The school will suspend many, if not all, of the students involved in the scare and send them to an alternative school.

Those who brought the drugs to school could face longer punishments.

Every student at the school will also soon notice a new look to drug education, as the district tries to combat the problem.

"This is the first time I've heard of this particular drug, So certainly that will change our curriculum," Wallace said. "Start teaching that this week and next week, rather than waiting until it comes in the textbook. Of course, I think it's an ideal time. This is the time to talk about it. This is the time to teach it."

Several of the students involved returned to school Thursday and received their punishments.

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