7 Evans Middle School students charged with possession

We talked with the Columbia County School Police Chief Gary Owens to learn more about the district’s policy on drugs in schools.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:14 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2023 at 4:22 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Several Evans Middle School students landed in trouble Wednesday over illegal substances, according to the Columbia County School District.

Police were alerted to reports of students allegedly in possession of illegal substances at school, the district said in a letter to parents.

Upon further investigation, seven students have been charged with possession of illegal substances, according to the district.

There was no disruption to the school day, and operations continued as normal.

We talked with the Columbia County School Police Chief Gary Owens to learn more about the district’s policy on drugs in schools.

“All of our schools are drug-free zones,” he said.

Owens wants those to know the students arrested for allegedly having liquid THC show the district isn’t messing around.

“With that incident yesterday, the most important message we can give is the school does not tolerate that type of behavior. There’s a code of conduct,” he said.

He wants these arrests to be an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the consequences.

“This is a very good important time to speak to your students and say, this is what happens when you do this doesn’t just influence your educational standpoint in starting a criminal career,” said Owens.

The seven students were arrested and booked. Owens says talking to your children about this shouldn’t wait for a drug bust to happen.

“Don’t wait until some of this happens at the school. That’s the thing we want to give or take away from this is this is not the time to wait for something to happen. If we prepare ahead of time. You know, when a hurricane comes, we prepare, and things happen at school we prepare,” he said.

He says this conversation should be two-ways.

“It’s just one more tool a parent can have to say this is what can happen to you, or I don’t want you to be part of this. Let’s talk about it. But you got to be open to parents gotta remember also they got to listen just as much as they speak,” said Owens.

The district says they are using countermeasures like open forums to help teach the dangers and consequences of bringing drugs to school.

It’s already been a busy week for law enforcement officers at local schools.

In the Richmond County School System, Laney High School parents were told in a letter that a gun was found Monday in a student’s book bag during an administrative search on the campus at 1339 Laney Walker Blvd.

Richmond County School System police recovered the weapon and formally charged the student, parents were told in the letter. The incident is being addressed by law enforcement and the district’s code of conduct.

And a gun was discovered Tuesday inside a vehicle on the Grovetown High School campus, parents were told in a letter.

It was found after three students were seen in a vehicle, unauthorized, in the school parking lot. Upon further investigation, a firearm was found in the car under a seat and was immediately secured away from the students, the Columbia County School District said.

The responsible party has been charged with possession of a firearm on campus and possession of Schedule I narcotics, the district said.

The students will also be held accountable according to the code of conduct.