ELLIJAY, Ga – The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s District Attorney, Alison Sosebee, began her campaign today in Fannin Middle School and Gilmer High School with presentations for students about the rising trend of vaping in all forms.
Speaking to the students she shared some of the responses that authorities have begun included harsher penalties for vape devices in general, not to mention the felonies possible with controlled substances. Using drugs in the vape devices like the popular Juul brand devices is only a part of growing concerns as authorities and administrations fear for students who expect non-nicotine flavored water vapor in devices they may find friends with when in reality these devices could contain anything from Heroin to Synthetic Marijuana.
Sosebee also invited Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent Dustin Hamby to speak about the Bureau’s involvement. Hamby noted that almost 90% of his cases tied to drug usage in some way. He goes on to note that he’s had three murders in his career directly related to drug usage.
Sosebee recalled the story of a case she and Hamby shared about a guy who had taken drugs with a close friend. Under the influence, he grew greatly agitated at his friend and violently murdered him without full realization. He spoke further about how little it takes to blow up into major consequences in situations like vaping unknown substances.
Sosebee also noted that they are finding that many students and users of vape devices believe them safer than regular cigarettes. She noted that not only is there zero research to support his claim, but there is also no research or regulations on vaping devices right now. No one can tell you everything that is in Vape Juice, nor if people at smoke shops are adding extra ingredients. She called the students this generations guinea pigs for testing if vaping as they would be the cases that doctors study thirty years from now to determine the actual effects that Vaping can have in both short-term and long-term effects.
Only the first day, Sosebee is expected to travel to Fannin High, Pickens High, and Pickens Middle schools in the next two weeks along with possibly adding Gilmer Middle as well.
Ellijay, Ga. – An incident report from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed reports of a student “blacking out” and suffering seizures after inhaling a substance from a SMOK Vape device.
The male student was hospitalized from the incident and later released. The incident, however, did prompt officials to call in K-9 units to search for other drugs. Authorities found two additional SMOK Vapes with one testing positive for containing marijuana. While the
original vape has been tested, no official response is available identifying the substance in the original device.
However, according to the incident report, it was reported that the student was told by a fellow classmate that “there was a vape in the boy’s restroom and he should go smoke some of it.”
With the investigation in Gilmer CID’s (Criminal Investigations Division) hands, no names of the students nor additional information is available.
However, FYN spoke with Gilmer County Charter School Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs who confirmed the incident is part of a larger problem facing the schools today. She told FYN that last year, the school system confiscated eight vape devices over the course of the entire year. This year, they have already collected 25 devices since the beginning of school a few weeks ago.
Each instance results in disciplinary action for the student as it is a violation of the code of conduct, according to Downs, but as the rise in using other substances in the devices continues, the charges against students get far more serious as they deal with controlled substances.
Downs went on to say that she has spoken with other Superintendents to see if Gilmer is alone in the rise of vape usage. Though she declined to name which counties she had spoken with, she did confirm that Gilmer was not alone.
Confirming the rise in popularity of these devices in several counties, the Appalachian Judicial Circuit District Attorney B. Alison Sosebee made a press release stating, “Within the last week, several teens in Pickens, Gilmer and Fannin counties have experienced medical emergencies as a result of “vaping,” by use of electronic cigarettes. These medical emergencies necessitated treatment by both EMS and treatment at hospitals.”
Many of the vape devices found being used are very small handheld devices easily concealed within one’s palm or bag, like a purse or book bag, or even in one’s pocket as several designs become thinner and shorter. Downs confirmed they have found Juul brand vapes and last weeks incident report confirmed the males vape was a SMOK brand. Sosebee notes, “Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.”
As the use of vapes themselves are intended to be used with nicotine for adult smokers, the rising concern is the ability to swap out the common “juice” for homemade cocktails or drugs. Downs confirmed that reports have been made of students crushing Adderall and other things to make the “juice.”
According to Juul’s website, “These alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency. We believe that these alternatives are not appropriate for people who do not already smoke.”
Sosebee also commented on other substances that have been found in the devices saying, “The liquid that is inhaled, known commonly as “vape juice,” can contain any number of substances: it can contain flavoring; it can contain nicotine; it can also contain drugs and illegal substances such as THC oil, fentanyl and LSD. Of great concern, the user may or may not know what they are inhaling, what their reaction will be to the substances, what they are exposing others to and may erroneously believe that they are simply inhaling “harmless water vapor.” There is nothing harmless about what is occurring.”
Downs went on to say that some parents may have purchased vapes for their kids not knowing that they are swapping out the contents. The feeling was echoed by Sosebee as she called for parents to “be aware of the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.”
With concerns rising from parents, administration, and law enforcement alike, investigations are continuing as programs and events are attempting to educate the community about the devices and their popularity.
Downs said the Gilmer Administration is stepping up efforts in educating and building awareness in their staff about what to look for and also to educate our parents in the community saying, “I feel like there is a real lack of knowledge and lack of understanding among our community in relation to this… This has blown up overnight to the point that I feel like its almost epidemic.”
DALTON, Ga. – The Dalton Police Department is on scene at Dalton High School where shots have been fired.
Dalton Police report that no student was injured by the shooting and all students are out of harm’s way. They also report the subject, a teacher, has been taken into custody.
The subject had barricaded themselves into a classroom earlier today before firing a weapon. Local police and Georgia State Patrol responded to the initial call. Concerning those reports that have come about a student injured during the evacuation, the Dalton Police were adamant that no student was injured by the shooting.
Police are also asking parents to NOT go to Dalton High School as they say, “The area inside the school has been evacuated and there are no students believed to be in the school at this time.”
The evacuated students have been taken to the Northwest Georgia Trade Center where police report parents should go for their children.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County Middle School eighth grade teams have announced Students of the Month for January. Students are chosen by their academic teachers for this distinction. Qualifications for this honor include outstanding citizenship, good attendance, respectfulness toward faculty and peers, and a good academic standing.
The students chosen for January are: Aubree Beavers, daughter of Julie Stanley, of Blue Ridge; Corbin Head, son of Marcus and Ashley Head, of Blue Ridge; Carly Cox, daughter of Jamie and Mary Jane Cox, of Blue Ridge; and Giovanni Leal, son of Jose and Maria Leal, of McCaysville.
Pictured left to right:
Giovanni Leal, Aubree Beavers, Carly Cox, and Corbin Head
Gainesville Students to Attend Air Force and Naval Academies
GAINESVILLE, Ga.—Two students from northeast Georgia have been offered admission to a U.S. military academy. Cameron Sturdivant will join the class of 2022 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Chase Nufer will attend the U.S. Naval Academy.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) nominated these students to the military academies because of their integrity and track record of accomplishment in the community.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Cameron and Chase, who have dedicated themselves to servant leadership roles early in life. I look forward to their success in Colorado Springs and Annapolis as they reflect the strong character of northeast Georgia,” said Collins.
Sturdivant is the son of Ms. Chere Rucker. He attends Gainesville High School and is following in the footsteps of his brother, Mr. Donovan Moss, who is currently a senior at the Air Force Academy.
Nufer, son of Mr. Peter & Ms. Heidi Nufer, is the captain of the baseball team at Forsyth Central High School and a member of the National Honor Society.
Due to hazardous road conditions that remain present in Fannin County this morning:
- All Fannin County Schools will be closed for students on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.
- District directors and principals report at normal time this morning.
- The Board of Education work session is still on for this morning at 8 a.m. at the central office.
- All 12-month employees should report by 10 a.m. (work hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- The day will be an optional workday for 190-day personnel (work hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
- Paraprofessionals and other personnel who work less than 190 days should receive direction from their administrator as to whether to work.
COVINGTON, Ga – This summer 10 students from the Fannin County Middle and High School FFA chapters attended Summer Leadership Camp (SLC) at the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center in Covington, on the banks of Lake Jackson.
Each summer, the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center hosts six weeks of Summer Leadership Camp for high school and middle school students involved in chapters of Georgia’s FFA and FCCLA youth leadership programs. Teachers bring their students to the week-long camp, where they participate in leadership programming designed to build relationships, develop teamwork and leadership attributes, and most importantly, have a great time! Activities include team and individual competitions, dances, the mega slide, the blob, swimming, ropes course, shooting sports, crafts, horseback riding, a muddy obstacle course, and more!
This year’s theme for Summer Leadership Camp was “SLC Unlimited”. Led by the idea that “you don’t get to decide how your story begins, but you do get to decide how it ends”, students were challenged to discover their unlimited future. This theme guided the programming for the week, including skits, challenges, and nightly reflections.
Over the course of the six weeks of Summer Leadership Camp, the Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center hosted more than 3,300 students, advisors, and guests. Driven by the purpose of investing in the lives of every camper that comes through the gate, the summer was full of fun, new experiences, and life-changing growth.
The students from Fannin County Middle and High School FFA chapters attending camp included: (back) Rose Ballew, Montana pearson, Cainan Patterson, Peyton O’Neal, Salde Epperson, (front) Hannah Payne, Adriana Smith, Alexis Ware, Lillyanna Ballew, Austin Smith Cainan Patterson and Montana Pearson were selected as team captains, Adriana Smith was selected as outstanding team member from her cabin, Caninan Patterson, Lillyanna Ballew, Adriana Smith, and Alexis Ware won individual championship awards, both the girls and the boys teams won the sought after Team Of The Week honors.
“Summer Leadership Camp is a unique experience for students that is full of fun and memorable activities, but the ultimate goal is to provide the atmosphere for teachers and students to connect in such a way that teachers can better invest in their students year-round,” says Russel Towns,
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, changed its name in 1988 to reflect the growth and diversity of agriculture. The Georgia Association has more than 41,000 members in 310 chapters, making it the third largest Association in the nation. The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success, through agricultural education.
FCCLA – Family, Career, Community Leaders of America, founded in 1945, is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer science education. In the 2016-2017 school year, Georgia FCCLA boasted over 22,420 members in 397 chapters. The mission of FCCLA is to promote personal growth and leadership development through family and consumer sciences education.
Fannin County High School Parking Permits on Sale
Students driving to Fannin County High School will be able to purchase Parking Permits for the 2017-18 School Year starting Monday, July 24, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. at the school. The cost of the annual permit this year is $30 with checks being made payable to FCHS.
Students are reminded to bring their driver’s license, tag number and proof of insurance information when they come to purchase their parking permits. If a student ever needs to drive a different vehicle to school other than the one registered, administration will work with the student.
Any student driving to school who has not had an initial drug screening test will need one prior to purchasing their permit. Drug Screens will be conducted starting on July 26 and continue throughout the week and the beginning of school.
Students are also reminded that driving and parking on campus is a privilege and the privilege can be revoked for various reasons including but not limited to: driving recklessly, having excessive tardies to school and or leaving campus without permission.
For additional information, please contact the school.