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Two Penn-Trafford students charged with smoking pot in girls restroom

| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Two Penn-Trafford High School students are facing charges for allegedly smoking marijuana in a girls' restroom last month.

Penn Township police filed charges against Cassidy Heckel, 18, of Alexander Drive, and a 16-year-old female.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Officer David Meyers Jr., a teacher smelled a “strong odor of burnt marijuana outside in the hallway” at about 1:05 p.m. on April 22.

Police found ashes in the last handicapped stall of the restroom, the affidavit said.

After reviewing video surveillance of the hallway, Heckel and the 16-year-old entered the bathroom together at 12:17 p.m., according to police. The juvenile left the bathroom at 12:26 p.m. and Heckel left one minute later, police said.

Students who were seen on the video entering the rest room after 12:27 p.m. told police that “the restroom smelled like ‘weed,'” Meyers wrote in the complaint.

Assistant Principal Gregory Capoccioni found in the juvenile's bag a silver metal case that contained a pipe made out of aluminum foil, three lighters and an empty foil packet marked with “Scooby Snax Hypriotic Potpourri.” The pipe contained marijuana residue, police said.

The girl initially denied smoking marijuana with Heckel, then later admitted to it when her mother picked her up, police said.

Heckel denied smoking marijuana and a search of her belongings turned up nothing suspicious, the affidavit said.

During a safety evaluation at the nurse's office, a 10-ounce glass jar was found in Heckel's bra. It contained a cellophane cigarette wrapper and two homemade aluminum foil pipes containing marijuana residue, police said.

Superintendent Thomas Butler did not respond to a request regarding disciplinary action against the students. District policy says, in part, that students are prohibited from “using, possessing, distributing and being under the influence of any controlled substances during school hours, (and) at any time while on school property.”

School regulations stipulate that a student who violates drug policy could face a 10-day out-of-school suspension and ineligibility to participate in extracurricular activities for two months following a suspension. The student may be referred to the school board for expulsion at the superintendent's discretion.

Heckel is charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct. A summons has been issued and a June 18 preliminary hearing is scheduled. The 16-year-old faces identical charges filed in juvenile court.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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