New Castle News

Police Reports

May 1, 2012

Police: Mother knew pot was in her daughter’s school backpack

NEW CASTLE — An East Side woman sent her daughter to school knowing marijuana was in the child’s backpack, police allege.

The girl had four bags of suspected marijuana when she got on the bus for school at George Washington Intermediate Elementary School.

New Castle police Monday charged 45-year-old Paula Johnson of 930 Winslow Ave., with endangering the welfare of children.

The police were contacted around 2:30 p.m. April 19 by the school’s assistant principal, Joe Anderson, and an officer met with three school officials. Anderson showed him four bags of suspected marijuana from the backpack that had field tested positive.

The girl’s age was unavailable. However, she is enrolled in the Brighter Visions Pinnacle Program, a school district-based, partial hospitalization program for children ages 6 through 12 who are experiencing behavioral problems.

A school official said she had kept the child off the bus after the suspected marijuana was found, and she contacted Lawrence County Children and Youth Services, who placed the girl in the Krause Shelter.

A therapist told police that one of the child’s classmates had gone to her and said the girl had something bad in her backpack. The therapist said she checked and saw the suspected marijuana.

Police told one of the school officials to inform the girl’s mother about the situation, and when the official called her, the mother said, “Yeah, I know,” she related to the police.

The school official then asked the mother how she knew, and she said the girl’s brother had told her.

A children and youth services representative told police a urine test given at the Keystone Adolescent Center was positive for THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in marijuana that has hallucinogenic effects.

Johnson will be sent a summons to appear in court.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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