SOCASTEE — Eight students are facing charges following two incidents at Socastee High School that involved smoking synthetic marijuana.
Police were called to the school twice, on Feb. 15 and Feb. 20, when students had a reaction due to ingesting the synthetic marijuana, said Sgt. Robert Kegler with Horry County police. Police arrested the eight on Friday.
Between the two incidents, three students were taken by ambulance for medical treatment, said Teal Harding, spokeswoman for Horry County Schools.
The drugs in each incident were sent to the State Law Enforcement Division for testing. Kegler said no banned substances were found in either case.
Three 16-year-olds also are charged as juveniles – a girl and boy charged with public disorderly conduct, and another juvenile boy charged with disturbing schools. All three juveniles were released to families.
Grant Hollister Kolumba and Johsua Palmer Vaught, both 17, of Myrtle Beach, are charged with public disorderly conduct
Cassie Leeana South and Christopher Robert Kripple, 17, of Myrtle Beach are charged with disturbing schools.
Nathan Wesley Rose, 18, of Myrtle Beach is charged with contributing the delinquency of a minor.
Kripple is being held by Surfside Beach Police while Kolumba, Vaught, South and Rose are being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.
Harding said the use of synthetic drugs is relatively new to Horry County Schools.
“It’s relatively new to the awareness level of teachers and administrators,” she said. “We go through bag searching everyday in the high school but if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could possibly miss it. With the number of incidents that have happened and the increased awareness it helps teachers know what to look for.”
Kegler said the only two incidents of synthetic drug use by teens Horry County police have responded to are the two incidents at Socastee High School.
“We haven’t seen anything else reported to law enforcement,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it’s not happening, but as far as statistics go, we only have the two incidents.”
All eight students have faced disciplinary action at the schools, Harding said, though she could not say the specific action taken against each student due to student confidentiality. Punishment could be severe.
“They could die from it if they ingest it enough and that’s a consequence that runs far beyond the school system,” Harding said. “The most extreme option we have, of course, is expulsion.”
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.