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San Bernardino County students accused of giving teacher marijuana cookie


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CHINO HILLS, Calif. - Two Southern California high school students were arrested for allegedly giving a marijuana-laced cookie to a Chino Hills teacher who collapsed in class, officials said.

The boys, both 17, were arrested Thursday at Ayala High School after the 53-year-old U.S. history teacher ate the cookie and collapsed during class May 28. They face felony charges related to poisoning, authorities said Friday.

The teacher, identified as Frank Palminteri, spent several days in the hospital but has since been discharged and is recovering at home, said Julie Gobin, spokeswoman for Chino Valley Unified School District. Palminteri declined to comment.

The two high school seniors were released to their parents, said Robin Haynal, a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. The parents were also cited with a poisoning violation and will appear in court with their sons.

No alleged wrongdoing was suspected at first because the teacher suffers from the sleeping disorder narcolepsy.

But authorities were led to the teenagers, whose identities were withheld because they are minors, by an anonymous tip after one allegedly boasted about the marijuana cookies earlier this week, the Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive chemical in marijuana known as THC, were later discovered in the teacher's system.

The students were suspended for five days and may be barred from participating in graduation ceremonies next week, Gobin said.

Students described Palminteri as a good a teacher.

"I just heard he is a really nice guy," said 17-year-old junior Stacey Fuller.

Chino Hills is about 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles in San Bernardino County.

Source: Mercury News
Author: Associated Press
Published: Jun. 05, 2004
Copyright: 2003 Knight Ridder
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