Investigators looking into possible drug problems at Naples American HS
Stars and Stripes June 4, 2003
NAPLES, Italy — Three Naples American High School seniors face expulsion hearings following an investigation into alleged drug use and distribution at the school.
School officials contacted the Naval Criminal Investigative Service a couple of weeks ago for assistance with possible drug problems, said NCIS special agent Terry Moreau.
NCIS interviewed about a dozen students Friday and Monday to gather witnesses in a two-track investigation. As NCIS identified witnesses to a sailor’s alleged misconduct, agents gathered information about possible narcotics distribution by students. The two cases somewhat bleed over, with a shared pool of witnesses including students, spouses and servicemembers.
Drugs were confiscated, but there have been no arrests. Because the investigation is ongoing, Moreau couldn’t release any information on the drugs, including what kind, how much or where they were found. On Monday, drug-sniffing dogs searched the building for the first time this school year. Principal Kay Galloway didn’t know if the dogs found any drugs.
“The bottom line is whether you’re in the Navy or work for the Department of Defense as a civilian or a student in DODDS, there’s a zero-tolerance-for-drugs policy,” she said.
An NCIS official was to present information at the expulsion hearings Tuesday evening. A committee made up of school and community members and a Navy legal officer will recommend action for the suspended students, which could include prohibiting a student from graduating.
In drug incidents involving dependents off school grounds, the base commanding officer decides the punishment. It could include banning the dependent from base or forcing the person’s early return to the States, said Lt. Susan Henson, base spokeswoman.
“Our goal is for the drug use and distribution on our bases involving dependents of U.S. personnel to stop,” said Moreau, noting the office is not trying to prosecute anyone.
Agents said they will share their information with Italian authorities.
Galloway said she didn’t believe the problem was far-reaching.
“I think it’s a small nucleus of the older students,” she said. “I think there are a number of young people who’re allowed a lot of freedom ... who’ve taken advantage of parents trusting them.”
Schools incorporate drug-use prevention programs into their curriculum, said Frank O’Gara, Department of Defense Dependents Schools spokesman. He said principals routinely work with community commanders to do health and welfare inspections of schools, including the use of drug-sniffing dogs.
Galloway said the school doesn’t plan to hold a special assembly to address the issue; the week is packed with awards and graduation assemblies.
“We’ve actually had a very wonderful school year,” she said. “ ... then to have this happen in the next to the last week of school is really quite saddening for all of the kids who’ve given their all.”
Charlie Coon contributed to this report.