Police name mother, boyfriend charged in school drug scare

Police have charged a mother and her live-in boyfriend after a 1st grader brought packets of heroin to a school.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Police have charged a mother and her live-in boyfriend after a first grader brought packets of heroin to a West Philadelphia school.

Undercover Philadelphia police drug officers entered the Parkside home of a woman on Viola Street Tuesday evening.

After the search, police charged the mother of the little girl, 32-year-old Marie Hunter, and her live-in boyfriend, 28-year-old Christopher Troy-Jenkins White, with endangering the welfare of a child, possession of narcotics and recklessly endangering another person.

The search came a few hours after parents say Hunter's 6-year-old daughter was at school showing off bags of heroin like it was candy and exposing the lethal drug to their children.

"I was afraid. My child is 7 years old, that's the last thing he needs to be exposed to is a drug like that," Danitra Salley, parent of a classmate, said.

Investigators say the girl brought 11 bags of the drug to her first grade classroom at John Barry Promise Academy at 59th and Race streets Tuesday morning.

A teacher spotted the child chewing on one of the packets, sending the school into emergency mode.

"The child had the product and was playing with it. Luckily, an alert teacher observed the kid with the narcotics," Philadelphia Police Captain John Przepiorka said.

The girl was rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and 19 of her classmates filed onto a school bus to be checked out and interviewed at the hospital.

The parents of the classmates, including 7-year-old Autumn Perry's mother, weren't far behind.

"She has no idea what drugs are. She thought they were passing around a toy, so I think, unfortunately, I have to teach her about drugs at 7 years old," Kristina Perry said.

Police say the 6-year-old girl complained of dizziness, but it's unclear if she ingested heroin. She and the other students were medically cleared.

"In this region, unfortunately, we deal with this fentanyl-laced heroin and fentanyl-laced heroin in this situation, if it were, could have really done some horrible damage to these children," Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker said.

Action News was there as the girl's mother, dressed in a Niqab, arrived at the school.

Hunter and White were taken in for questioning while a police dog searched the building before dismissal.

Parents were informed of what happened in a letter.

School District Of Philadelphia Spokesman Fernando Gallard says, "Our job is to provide services to the students to make sure they are not negatively affected by it."

Parents like Danitra Saley whose son Anthony was also checked out at CHOP say they're not sure their children will attend Barry next year.

"I don't know why a first grader would be able to bring heroin to school. It doesn't make sense to me. It should have never even been in the home," Saley said.

Police say they only found marijuana in the Parkside house.

Meanwhile, the 6-year-old girl in this case is now in DHS custody.

The school district says counselors will be on hand at John Barry Promise Academy on Wednesday.
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