19 arrests made at five west-end high schools
Students’ reactions to getting nabbed for drugs at five west-end schools this month ranged from expressions of shame to demands that their parents not be told, police said yesterday.
“You get a mix and match, different reactions from different youth,” Sgt. Jamie Dunlop said. “A lot of kids were surprised and concerned about their schools and parents being notified … and whatever punishment that might bring that carries on longer than what I can give them.”
Police acting on a complaint recently arrested an Ottawa man and 18 young offenders following a 10-day investigation into the sale and use of drugs near high schools. Police seized hashish, marijuana and cocaine worth more than $4,000 during the operation.
“It sounds like a large number, but we’re talking about a lot of schools — in one group there were four or five kids there, sharing a joint,” Dunlop said. “There was activity at all five schools, but it was not rampant at one school. It was not a mass exodus of lunch students going out to smoke marijuana.”
Police declined to identify the schools except to say they were all campuses in west division, meaning between Island Park Drive and Kanata, and spanning both the public and separate school boards.
“If I was concerned about a particular school then most certainly I would stand up and name it, but that was not the point,” Dunlop said. “What we’re trying to do is send the message that we don’t want drug traffickers attending our schools.”
Matthew Turnbull, 19, of Ottawa, and a 17-year-old male who cannot be identified each face trafficking-related charges.
Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, police opted to warn 17 of the youths and notified their parents and schools.