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Woodbury student apprehended with knives, marijuana at East Ridge dance

A Woodbury teenager's days in District 833 may be numbered, depending on the outcome of allegations that he attempted to bring two knives and bags of marijuana to a high school dance.

Woodbury police said formal charges were pending against a 14-year-old boy who was stopped Sept. 16 at East Ridge High School during a school dance. Woodbury police Commander Jay Alberio said charges could include possession of a dangerous weapon on school property - a gross misdemeanor - and two petty misdemeanors: possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Washington County juvenile-division prosecutors were still considering the charges Friday, Alberio said.

According to a police report, the boy approached dance ticket-takers at 9:06 p.m. inside East Ridge. School staff said the boy stunk of marijuana and refused staff efforts to search his bag.

The boy fled the building's front doors, where police made contact with him. Police said the suspect was at first uncooperative and pulled away after being told the officer was going to search his backpack.

According to the police report, the boy's backpack contained two spring-loaded knives, two bags of marijuana and a marijuana pipe.

Alberio said it was not clear why the youth - who he identified as a Woodbury High School ninth grader - was attempting to bring the weapons with him into the dance. The boy told police he was not aware it was illegal to possess dangerous weapons on school grounds, Alberio noted.

"It's hard to tell what his intent was," Alberio said. "It's always a concern for police and students if someone shows up with weapons."

District 833 Communications Director Barb Brown declined to comment on any aspect of the case due to student data privacy laws.

Brown noted that "in these situations," the district follows policies as stated in student handbooks.

According to the district's weapons policy, minimum consequences for students possessing weapons include immediate out-of-school suspension, confiscation of weapon and notification of police and parents. Consequences also call for a possible one-year expulsion.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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