Student suspended, apologizes after bringing ‘edible marijuana’ to Highland Park Elementary, offering to schoolmates

Seattle Public Schools has confirmed to WSB what a reader posted in the Forum over the weekend – that a Highland Park Elementary School student brought “edible marijuana” to school. SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard says, “The edibles included a candy bar and was offered in the lunchroom.” It happened on Wednesday; this is the letter HPES principal Chris Cronas sent to families two days later:

Dear Highland Park families and guardians,

Wednesday afternoon, school administration learned that a 5th grade student brought edible marijuana to school, which was offered to students. We are not aware of any students who consumed the edibles offered. Additionally, parents of students directly involved were contacted and the student has received consequences.

I am truly embarrassed by what took place Wednesday. It is my goal to ensure that our students are safe. Unfortunately, the actions of one child who made a poor decision may have had an impact on how our students and community are perceived.

This incident, however, opens the door for a constructive conversation about drugs and drug use. With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State, as well as an increase in doctor-prescribed medicinal marijuana, minors have unprecedented access to the drug. I would encourage you to talk with your students about alcohol and drugs as soon as possible. It is never too soon to start this conversation. If you have questions about how to have these conversations or wish to obtain more information, please contact Tina Urso, our school nurse. She will be happy to provide you with more resources. Additionally, you can find helpful tips and resources at

I want to assure you that we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our students safe at school. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to speak with families and guardians directly.


Chris Cronas
Principal, Highland Park Elementary

The person who posted in the WSB Forum expressed concern about the time that elapsed before families were notified; Howard says the principal “needed time to gather all the info on Wednesday/Thursday to clarify everything before sending to families.” We asked her how school staff found out about what happened: “We found out because students trusted the staff enough, to report what happened, subsequently initiating an investigation.” She adds, “This student has since written a letter of apology to the principal and asked what he can do over the next few days to make up for work he missed while on suspension, as well as how he can make amends among his peers.”

31 Replies to "Student suspended, apologizes after bringing 'edible marijuana' to Highland Park Elementary, offering to schoolmates"

  • Highland park mom February 23, 2015 (11:24 am)

    I was notified the same day because my child was one of the children he offered it too. I think the principal did the right thing by calling those directly effected and gathering information before sending the letter out.

  • Joe Szilagyi February 23, 2015 (11:50 am)

    This is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children about this in the same contexts as they would alcohol usage.

  • Diane February 23, 2015 (12:10 pm)

    THIS was exactly one of my greatest concerns with new edibles; even greater concern is sharing or accidental eating of edibles where recipient is not informed it contains marijuana, because most edibles look exactly like regular candy/whatever
    I attended an educational event about marijuana and edibles at WS High School last year; kudos to HPE Principal for keeping kids safe, and totally agree; “minors have unprecedented access to the drug. I would encourage you to talk with your students about alcohol and drugs as soon as possible. It is never too soon to start this conversation”

  • Thank you. February 23, 2015 (12:35 pm)

    Thank you for responsible coverage and thank you to the staff at the school for being open about it. It reminds us that as things change we need to help our kids be armed with information. I feel bad for the boy who offered it. He is probably very ashamed and learned an important lesson.

  • T Rex February 23, 2015 (1:17 pm)

    What kind of parent actually has edible marijuana in the same home as a 5th grader?

    Truly irresponsible.

  • Chris W February 23, 2015 (1:20 pm)

    I worry that we are over-concerned that edibles look like regular candies because alcohol is sold inside candies, too, and people aren’t suggesting that those candies be taken off the market. Like amaretto-infused chocolates (and guns & hydrocodone) the legal users of these commercial products should ensure kids don’t have access.

  • jackspara February 23, 2015 (2:09 pm)

    Um…one doesn’t get drunk from a chocolate with a smidge of amaretto. Can we say the same about pot food.


  • ACG February 23, 2015 (2:28 pm)

    ChrisW- I am asking this because I honestly do not know the answer. How potent is the alcohol content in one of those candies vs the potency of the marijuana edible? Would my elementary student get drunk after eating one of those alcohol candies? Would my kid get stoned off of eating one of those marijuana candies?
    My thought at this time is that consuming one of the marijuana edibles is more potent and would have more of an effect on my child than eating one of the alcohol based candies. But, as I said, I don’t know/understand the potency of those two types of candy. Not that I want my child to consume either, but if the comparison is going to be made between the two then I’d like to make sure the two products truly are comparable in regards to their potency/effect on my child.

  • gina February 23, 2015 (2:33 pm)

    That stuff isn’t cheap!

  • lila February 23, 2015 (2:42 pm)

    My guess is that its happening at every middle and high school in ws, possibly in more elementary schools here. This student just got caught.

  • CEA February 23, 2015 (2:49 pm)

    My two cents – the edibles can be potent, even for an adult. I ingested some in a (totally innocent looking) cupcake and was absolutely incapacitated. That was followed by some agonizing stomach pains that lasted hours. I would not want to see a child go through that. On the other hand, perhaps this is what people with food allergies have to deal with on a regular basis. Vigilance and care are probably the best two ways to protect ourselves.

  • sgs February 23, 2015 (3:00 pm)

    If the parents had the edible in the house, they owe an apology too. I hope they learn to eat the stuff themselves until it’s gone and not leave it in the house.

  • Wes C. Addle February 23, 2015 (3:06 pm)

    It’s been happening since I was in grade school too, and I’ve not been in grade schools since the 80’s.
    The Alcohol content would depend on the candy, similar with the Cannabis. If a kid passed out little chocolate squares it would probably make him/her a little drowsy. If they eat the whole bar they’d get paranoid and anxious (most likely) I know when I was a kid and would eat the alcohol chocolate it was about a shot’s worth.

  • Diane February 23, 2015 (3:33 pm)

    looks like we need way more education for adults about the new edibles; the forum I attended about the new MJ and edibles was highly enlightening, and very concerning; maybe they should offer that educational opportunity to the public more often
    new edible marijuana candies are highly potent
    the teensy amount of alcohol in a candy, not likely to even be noticed
    with that said, I’ve been clean/sober a very long time, and I still ask whenever offered candies, to make sure they are not infused with alcohol; sometimes, with surprising results, where the person offering candies did not even occur to them to inform anyone; I was at a Belltown artwalk recently, in a venue where a boutique chocolates creator was giving out samples; thank god I asked; every variety except one was infused with alcohol; then learned he just knowingly gave one to a toddler, without even informing the parent; jeesh
    but still, the small amount of alcohol in a candy, might cause a barely noticeable buzz
    candy infused with marijuana could get a child stoned for entire day; and many children have already been showing up at our ER’s after eating MJ candies; I seem to recall that some have died; was it in Colorado?

  • Salinger February 23, 2015 (3:41 pm)

    I’m a fan of recreational marijuana use (also an adult), but two observations:

    1. Jesus…fifth grade…really? Way too young. Sad to hear this is even an issue at this age. Really sad.

    2. Edibles can be intense…much more so than smoking. Nowhere near comparable to chocolates with liquor in them. There has to be some better way to protect kids from this stuff. This kid or one of his/her friends had to get it/steal it from parents somewhere down the line, which means serious irresponsibility.

  • Wes C. Addle February 23, 2015 (3:54 pm)

    I agree with everyone, edibles are way more intense than smoking.
    I thought the school handled it the way it should have been.
    It doesn’t deserve an APB. Kids will eat it get sick and learn. Just like when I tried my first bowl or tequila shot.

  • AIDM February 23, 2015 (4:25 pm)

    Despite the fact that this is not okay and the students and parents need to be appropriately punished, the relative risk of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs were compared in the Washington post today with some interesting results: MJ is less dangerous than anything else with huge margins.

  • Peter February 23, 2015 (5:21 pm)

    Maybe it’s just my individual biochemistry or something, but edibles have little to no effect on me. Just saying, since it’s a common misconception, that it is not a foregone conclusion that edibles are more powerful than smoking it.

    That said, please please please keep it secure if you have kids or teenagers. Best if they don’t know you have it in the first place.

  • Alex February 23, 2015 (6:27 pm)

    Diane, I agree with you that edibles can be strong, and should be kept away from kids, but let’s not spread mis-information. It is a scientifically proven fact that there is no lethal dose of marijuana, as it is not toxic to the human body. In contrast, alcohol is extremely toxic and both directly and indirectly causes many, many deaths at all age levels.
    Again, I’m not saying that makes marijuana ok, but let’s not villainize or over-punish –the worst case scenario of a kid getting high on marijuana is that they act dumb for a while afterwords.

  • Mike February 23, 2015 (9:00 pm)

    Time to talk to my oldest in elementary about not sharing food with friends at school. This isn’t due to the new legalization either, this happened in the 80’s when I was in elementary school too. I remember a friend bringing ‘special’ brownies along with a mens magazine to look at during recess, that was 4th grade. I knew better than to eat it, but other kids did.
    I’d be angry if my kids were offered this too, but I need to have that talk with my kids as I can’t guarantee the school even knows what is in the hands of every kid there, much less prevent it from being passed around.

  • Oakley34 February 23, 2015 (9:12 pm)

    Surprising amount of restraint and good sense being shown here on this subject. I had expected some knee jerk anti MJ folks to use this as a springboard to a soapbox. Parents need to talk to their kids and take responsibility…end of discussion as I see it.

    And yeah edibles…they just make me nauseous and not high…so yeah, they affect different people differently.

  • The Talk February 23, 2015 (10:24 pm)

    I’m not an anti MJ person, but reading this is a actually alarming to me as a parent. But served as a good wake up call for me have a much direct talk with my kids about edible MJ and let them know that some of it does look like candy, etc. My kids are K and 3rd grade, and wouldn’t think twice about shoving “candy” in their mouth if a kid gave it too them at school or a play date. @WSB, thanks for bringing this topic to my attention.

  • WMF February 24, 2015 (11:48 am)

    Diane: did you just suggest children have died from eating marijuana? Google how many people have died from marijuana. Please don’t spread misinformation.

  • datamuse February 24, 2015 (1:07 pm)

    The deaths were of adults, not children, and neither was the direct result of marijuana use–both were due to risky behavior while high, which as we all know *never* happens with alcohol.

  • Diane February 24, 2015 (1:36 pm)

    thank you @The Talk; yes, adults/parents please learn about realities of edibles, and please talk to your kids, as soon as possible
    @WMF; please don’t downplay the danger of edibles for children; and yes, google it; I certainly have, many times
    and as mentioned above, I participated in a class/forum at WS High School last year, to learn from the experts
    I’ve also talked to ER pediatric specialists at Harborview about the significant increase of babies/young children showing up in the emergency room after accidentally eating edibles
    children (teens) have died in situations related to edibles overdose; example of risk with teens intentionally trying edibles, but not understanding how to dose, the need to wait longer for the affect; so they eat more and more and more; and when the affect finally hits, it’s too late; it’s completely different from the pot smoking of yester-year, and completely different from drinking alcohol; both have instant affects; edibles do not
    the focus of my work is young children, who can easily mistake edibles as just plain old brownies, candies, cookies, and eat the whole thing, and overdose, end up in the ER; those cases have been soaring since legalization; many children in intensive care and on ventilators; the small bodies of young children are at much greater risk from any toxic substance, including vitamins that usually taste/look like candy, and parent’s meds/vitamins that are often indistinguishable from candies; edibles are far more risky because they look/taste like regular fun food for kids who cannot tell the difference; anyone who has young children knows they will put almost anything in their mouth; and if something they’ve learned to be a treat, and yummy, they will gobble it down
    it’s nearly impossible for a young child to experience ill affects of alcohol, because they can’t stand the taste or burn; there’s tons of data and anecdotal evidence that children are intentionally trying alcohol/drugs at younger and younger ages; I started at 15; kids these days are starting early as elementary ages
    I have no doubt the situation described in this story has already happened many times with kids in our schools; this is just the first kid to be caught and in the news
    my hope is this will be a teachable moment for many parents to learn more about edibles and talk to your kids

  • Diane February 24, 2015 (1:46 pm)

    @ Alex; re “let’s not spread mis-information. It is a scientifically proven fact that there is no lethal dose of marijuana, as it is not toxic to the human body”
    please provide a source of this “scientifically proven fact”; marijuana is very toxic in high doses for young children
    even vitamins are highly toxic for young children; and so are edibles; as well as many “natural” herbs; please learn the real facts about edibles and their affects on young children

  • Diane February 24, 2015 (2:59 pm)

    check out the photo; “A marijuana-laced gummy bear, left, and a regular one look identical”
    and tons of good info about edibles in this NYT’s story
    ends with quote from marketing director for edibles producer; “I can’t control how a parent stores this,” she said. “It’s out of my hands once it gets into that home.”

  • Soulful in Seattle February 24, 2015 (11:47 pm)

    Good letter from principle — well handled in my opinion. I have young kids in SPS.

    These things are bound to happen with the new laws in place, and hopefully parents, schools and kids can engage in honest discussions about the facts of marijuana use.

    Another good learning opportunity for all.

  • One small voice February 26, 2015 (2:25 pm)

    Parents in Washington State: when you going to file a class action suit? Your kids are the target market for the industy. The developing brain is PRIMED for addiction. The industry meets its projected profit margin by hooking your kids for their consumer base of those who will use their products daily for years. Sue your state government for violating federal law, sue MPP & NORML for their deceptive campaign. Research is showing the cannabinoid-opioid system of the brain is intimately connected. Early exposure to marijuana blunts the brain’s sensitivity to opiates, ergo: is your heroin epidemic rising in parallel with teen marijuana use? Your state is poised for a class action suit against the deeply well-funded campaign that had your voters thinking it was no big deal to legalize. When elementary students are exposing other elementary students to marijuana, it’s a very, very big deal. It’s exactly what the industry needs to make big profits in future years….

  • anonyme February 26, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    Do we know for certain that the 5th grader knew it was a pot brownie, and not just a regular one? Either way, it’s the parents who really need to suffer some consequences. Some education is clearly in order, education which these parents are not providing – and are more in need of than the kid, apparently.

  • fauntleroy fairy February 27, 2015 (6:37 pm)

    Bravo Diane. Bravo!

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