LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Ten-year-olds caught buying and selling marijuana at a Greeley school is not as uncommon as you think.
Earlier this month, Lakewood Police charged an 11-year-old for bringing a joint to Westgate Elementary.
That boy’s mother is upset there aren’t consistent consequences for kids caught with marijuana.
Her kid faces juvenile justice—while there are no charges against the Greeley kids.
“He’s very outgoing. He likes people,” says the boy’s mother, who didn’t want to be identified.
He likes to draw. He likes playing video games. He’s a typical 11-year-old—except for this.
“He was actually charged with the possession of the marijuana, which he went to court on,” says his mom.
She says her son had a joint in the vest pocket he wore to his school.
The principal said in a letter that he smelled like marijuana.
It’s medical marijuana the boy’s mom says he got from his grandfather.
“We never thought we’d have to worry about that with him you know. He’s just a little boy who made a really bad decision. I think they took it all out of proportion,” she says.
Besides criminal court, the 11-year-old has to do four urine tests a month, has to go to drug and alcohol classes and pass 90 days sobriety.
He also got five days suspension from school.
“I don’t condone what he did. He needs to be punished. I think it’s a little extensive,” says the single mom.
But what she considers extensive consequences for her son, she says are practically nonexistent for students in Greeley.
“What’s the difference with those 10-year-olds with marijuana on their school grounds and my son being on his school grounds?” she questions.
The four elementary kids at Monfort Elementary in Greeley either bought, sold or used pot on the playground.
But no charges—at least not yet.
“You’re talking about two different cities, two different school districts, two different law enforcement agencies, two different officers that handled the calls,” says Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis.
Davis says in this case the 5th grader had three pending criminal cases which might have influenced the officer.
“If I were a betting man I think that had lot to do with him getting a summons,” says Davis.
“I think it scares them,” says child psychologist Sheryl Ziegler.
She says punishing a child through the criminal justice system gets mixed results.
“Even young children in the juvenile system can be controversial. Because, developmentally a 10-year-old is not fully ready to truly understand the gravity of the situation he put himself in,” says Ziegler.
She says the onus is on parents to lock up not only what’s in their house—but assure homes their kids visit are safe.
“I don’t think it’s fair. I really don’t. Everybody makes mistakes,” says the boy’s mom.
Greeley Police said Friday they are now considering charges against the four boys—as well as the two grandparents whose pot the kids swiped in the case that happened in that city.