October 23, 2012

Mountain Creek student says drug charge stems from misunderstanding

Rachel Brown

— A 17-year-old and a juvenile at Mountain Creek Academy have been charged in what officials said was an illicit drug exchange.

Murray County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ray Sitton said an adult at the school saw a 15-year-old student who had been given medication prescribed to him hand that medication to Austin Elliott Goss, 17, of 3944 Ga. Highway 225 S., Chatsworth. Goss was charged last week with transaction in a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school while the juvenile was charged with distribution.

Reached by phone on Monday, Goss said he was getting ready to go outside to roll up the windows in his truck when the other student emerged from having medication given to him and said, “Here you go, dude, you want this candy?”

“I stuck out my hand, and he dropped them in my hand,” Goss said. “I really thought he was giving me candy. That’s what he said.”

Goss said he has seen the student before but doesn’t know him. He said he didn’t try to take the pills, and he doesn’t do drugs. He said an adult who works at the school became involved almost as soon as the younger student gave him the drugs.

Information on what kind of drug was involved wasn’t available in the incident report from the sheriff’s office, but Goss and Sitton said they thought it was for attention deficit disorder or something similar.

The report says that as the younger student was going to the water fountain, “he handed Mr. Goss his medication. (A school employee) was walking out of the office and saw what had happened. Mr. Goss said that (the student) dropped his medication. (The employee) picked up one pill and reached into Mr. Goss’ pant pocket and got the other pill.”

The report states the transaction was caught on video.

“This is the first time (the school) had noticed it,” Sitton said of the student passing off his pills. “They issue (medication) out to (students) and then they step to the water fountain with them to see that they took it. There was a school person there that saw this take place. I guess (the students) thought they wouldn’t see them or something.”

Mike Tuck, administrative services director for Murray County Schools, confirmed the incident but said he couldn’t comment on what happened beyond what was listed in the incident report. School policy as well as privacy laws prevent school officials from discussing most discipline information about individual students.