Manalapan teen should have received harsher penalty

What message does this slap on the wrist do to the young bright senior from Manalapan High School (“Teen Has Chance to Clear Record,” News Transcript, June 13). Dealing with cocaine in a school zone has to come with hard time, certainly a period of parole. No, not in this land of Oz dealings with the prosecutor and the family.

Maybe while incarcerated he decided to cooperate and bring some more important people down with him in exchange for going home to sleep with mom and dad. Maybe his parents have some serious cash and brought a get out of jail card from their Monopoly set.

No matter what happened, giving that young man pretrial intervention was a disgrace. He was caught with 10 vials of cocaine.

He intended to sell it to other students. In a school zone, no, better yet, in the school.

Manalapan and most of the other high schools have no clue to the extent of drug use in their schools. Six years ago I asked the superintendent and the school board to have drug-sniffing dogs sweep our schools once a month. He felt it was unnecessary and would violate students’ privacy rights. He was wrong then and his failure to do something shows how easy our children can score serious drugs with their lunch money.

It is time to make sure our schools are free of any drugs, and to remove those who cannot make sound decisions in keeping our kids safe.

Joseph Mercurio

Freehold Township