Sumter deputies investigate alleged drug use, distribution at Lakewood High School; 3 juveniles under investigation


Update: The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday evening, based on the investigation’s progress, up to three juvenile students at Lakewood High School are under investigation and facing potential charges related to the ongoing investigation.

Sumter County Sheriff’s Office investigators were at Lakewood High School Friday to investigate recent incidents and rumors of students allegedly using drugs and distributing on the premise.

According to Maj. Randall Stewart, there have been recent incidents of students not feeling well and having sought medical treatment. In an incident earlier this week, a student was transported by ambulance due to an illness, he said.
Social media rumors have spread this week regarding potential student overdoses and a possible drug related death. Stewart said Sheriff Anthony Dennis denied the claims, saying there have been no student deaths in Sumter County.
Some student illnesses are being investigated for possible connections to vape pens and edible products that may have contained tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Stewart said, the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Sumter School District officials are working with investigators.
“The safety of our students is our No. 1 priority,” Superintendent William Wright Jr. said. “It is important that we all understand the severity of this situation because these substances are not safe.”
Parents and guardians are encouraged to stress to their children the importance of notifying school officials if they are aware of suspicious activity. In addition, Wright asked parents and guardians to talk to their children about the dangers of vaping, consuming edibles and drug use and how to resist peer pressure.
“Together, we can help ensure the safety of our students,” Wright said.
Dennis urged students and parents to be cautious about going to social media in search of facts and explained the importance of students reporting incidents to the proper authorities. He also stressed the dangers of accepting or purchasing possible drug-related items from other students to include vape pens and food items.
“Not only can these items be detrimental to the student’s health and safety, but they are also unlawful,” Dennis said. “Violators that are possessing or distributing these type items in the school will be prosecuted accordingly. The safety and future of these students is the future of our community.”

It is too early at this time to determine what final charges may apply and more information is needed to determine whether Family Court or criminal court charges apply, Stewart said about the juveniles under investigation. They are also subject to school administration actions.

Stewart said the investigation will continue to ensure the safety and accountability of the students. So far, the only drug related matter continues to be vape pens and edibles that possibly contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). No other drug type is suspected at this time.