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Five third-graders caught smoking marijuana during recess

April 26, 1997

EATON, Colo. (AP) _ Five third-graders found smoking a cigarette earlier this year were suspended from school after they were caught smoking marijuana rolled in their homework paper during recess.

``I have been principal for over 30 years, and this is a first for me,″ Principal Oren Nero said. ``Earlier this year we caught this same group smoking a cigarette, and that was even a first for me.″

The students’ names were not released because they are under the age of 10. State law forbids criminal charges against children that young.

``We’re kind of fumbling our way through this right now to try to figure out how to handle this,″ said Rod Hawkins, police chief of this town of 200 people about 60 miles north of Denver.

The students were suspended Tuesday after one of the boys lit up a marijuana and began puffing on it. The others were seen smoking it before caught, authorities said.

Police confiscated a bag of marijuana that was traced to an older relative of one of the boys.

The students were suspended for four days and may face further punishment.