There was a time when school Show & Tell meant bringing in a frog or a hamster to delight your classmates, but that no longer appears to be the case. In the latest incident, a four-year old girl from Selbyville, Delaware brought in something a hell of a lot more interesting—at least to local authorities: 249 bags of heroin (totaling 3.735 grams) from home. She then graciously decided to share the shit with her classmates (which is probably evidence that at least she’s not a real addict) before the teachers noticed the kids with the little packages and notified authorities.
But the little girl wasn’t an apprentice dope dealer. According to the police report, the “family pet” had ruined the poor kid’s backpack the night before, so her mother mistakenly gave her another backpack that contained her stash. The packets were brightly colored (yellow) and even had the brand name “Slam” stamped across the front (I guess marketing is important even for heroin dealers these days) so the child apparently mistook the smack for candy.
Luckily, none of the kids at the Hickory Tree Child Care Center ingested any of the stuff, but a few were taken to local hospitals to be checked out as a precautionary measure and before being released. In addition to destroying her chances of becoming Mother of the Year, the girl’s mom, 30-year old Ashley R. Tull, was arrested and charged with maintaining a drug property and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child; still, she was freed on a shockingly low bail of $6,000. The girl and her two siblings were sent to stay with a relative and the mother was given a no contact order.
She’s Certainly Not the Only One
As disturbing as the story is, what’s really surprising to me is that this was not the first time that this happened this year, or even the second. It was at least the fourth time since April that a kid in first grade or pre-school has taken heroin to an Eastern seaboard school (which at least proves that all trends don’t start in California). What ever happened to peanut butter and jelly?
Proving the adage that addiction is indeed a family disease, a Philadelphia first grader brought his 56-year old grandmother’s dope to school this past May, and in keeping with the marketing theme, the packages were labeled “Victoria’s Secret” (because heroin addiction is so fucking sexy). Granny apparently “lost track” of the heroin while babysitting the seven-year old boy and his one-year old sibling (that happens when you’re in a nod), and the boy handed out a couple of the 10 or so packets to his classmates before teachers caught on. This time the grandmother, Pauline Bilinski-Munion, was arrested and charged with a more appropriate bail of $25,000, so the kids probably won’t be sharing turkey legs at Thanksgiving dinner with their grandmother this year.
And in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a five-year old boy brought out 50 bags of heroin for Show & Tell. The boy had taken his stepdad’s coat in for the exercise, reached into the pocket and produced 10 little plastic bags, each containing five folds of heroin. The horrified teacher grabbed the bags and had the principal call the cops. An equally horrified Santos Roman, the boy’s stepfather, frantically returned to the school to retrieve the jacket (and dope), but was arrested soon thereafter and charged with risk of injury to a minor, possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school. With a long list of drug convictions already on his resume, the bail for Roman was set at $100,000. (Apparently the bail goes up as you travel northward.)
The final (I think/hope) story is also from Philadelphia, where a seven-year old boy brought in 11 bags of heroin to his first grade glass, but this time, investigators said two of the packets had been opened, and one had been chewed open. And although this story has the fewest sexy details (no grandmother, cool packaging or Show & Tell element), it’s the one that was the most sobering. I’m surprised we don’t hear more stories of really young children dying of heroin overdoses—not because they’re using, but because kids will put anything in their mouths (at least once). It wouldn’t take much for a 30-40 pound body to OD on heroin.
There Isn’t Necessarily a Solution
So what do we do? The sad truth is that there really isn’t anything we can do, at least from a practical standpoint. Only a fucking nut would think frisking pre-schoolers for drugs (or guns) on the way into school is a solution. Heroin addicts aren’t known for their parenting skills, and there aren’t enough social services agencies to keep up with the number of drug addicted and alcoholic parents now. And don’t expect Congress to start spending on social services anytime soon.
It’s just a tragic story waiting to happen. And when it does, we’ll all be shocked until it happens again.