THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Discipline likely in brownie brouhaha

Promgoers who got ill may face drug questions

By Sean Teehan
Globe Correspondent / April 4, 2011

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North Andover’s school superintendent said he expects disciplinary action will be taken after school and police officials complete an investigation into a Friday night incident at the high school’s junior prom that left three students hospitalized after eating brownies allegedly laced with marijuana.

“When you do things they have repercussions,’’ said Christopher Hottel, the superintendent, in a phone interview yesterday.

North Andover school officials ended the prom an hour early after at least two North Andover High School students and a student from another school became violently ill, Hottel said.

The three were transported to Lawrence General Hospital by ambulance, according to a statement from Hottel.

All three were released later that night, he said.

Police are investigating and no charges have been filed, but that could change, said Lieutenant Paul Gallagher of the North Andover Police Department. “If someone was distributing drugs, that is a charge.’’

After interviewing students who attended the prom, school officials said they suspect 11 promgoers had eaten the brownies before they got on a bus that took them from the high school to Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson, N.H., where the event was held, according to Hottel’s statement.

“As the investigation by the school administration continues on Monday morning, it is likely that there will be disciplinary actions taken,’’ the statement said.

Atkinson Police Chief Philip Consentino said yesterday he suspects the students were aware the brownies contained what officials believe was marijuana and ate them of their own volition.

“I’m leaning toward the assumption that they knew what they were doing,’’ Consentino said in a phone interview.

“Where the brownies came from, who had them, we’re not sure,’’ said Consentino.

School officials contacted parents of students who attended the prom after closing it about 10 p.m., and told them to pick up their sons and daughters at the high school’s auditorium, according to the statement from Hottel.

“It was a little stressful, we got a call . . . saying the prom was cut short,’’ said Warren Markowsky, whose 16-year-old son attended the dance. “It kind of gives the town a black eye.’’

He said his son did not eat any of the brownies, and he was bothered that the alleged drug use led to an early end of the prom, which was attended by almost 300.

“I was surprised, and obviously it’s upsetting that a few kids can really ruin a nice time,’’ Markowsky said.

Sean Teehan can be reached at steehan@globe.com.