Pubdate: Wed, 09 Jul 2008
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Daniel Pearce
Bookmark: (Youth)


Norfolk's federal prosecutor says his office is cracking down on drug 
use in high schools and is foregoing the "diversion" program normally 
offered to young people for minor possession charges.

"We want youth to know that if they bring drugs to school, there are 
serious consequences to it," Jamie Pereira, who prosecutes drug 
offences in the area, told the Reformer.

"We're looking for (guilty) pleas."

Minors charged with lesser offences are often "diverted" from the 
justice system by being given a combination of community service and 
counseling while criminal charges against them are stayed.

Pereira said his office has changed its approach because "we are 
concerned about the amount of drugs in schools."

On Tuesday, two teens from Holy Trinity Catholic High School in 
Simcoe pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and were sentenced 
to six months probation each.

In one case, a 17-year-old male was found with seven rolled joints 
after being searched by the school vice-principal. In the other, a 
16-year-old male was spotted by police with three other teens at the 
top of the fairgrounds grandstand during a lunch break and was found 
to have about $30 worth of marijuana.

Neither student can be named under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The change in approach is needed, Pereira told the court, in order to 
create "a deterrence factor so students can go to drug-free schools."

However, as part of their pleas, the youths were given conditional 
discharges by Judge Brian Stead.

If they complete their probationary periods without any problems, the 
criminal charges against them will be dropped.
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