Westford Woman Charged With Alleged Cocaine Distribution at Westford Academy

The Lowell Sun reports that a 19-year-old Westford woman allegedly provided cocaine to her other students for free.


Natalie Taylor Hill, 19, 1 Garrett Dr. pleaded not guilty in Ayer District Court on Wednesday to charges of alleged distribution of a Class B drug, distribution of cocaine to a minor and school-zone drug violations.

In a Lowell Sun report, Ayer District Court judge Marc Sullivan released the 2012 Westford Academy graduate on personal recognizance with the conditions that she continue medications and mental-health treatement.

Hill allegedly indicated to police that she purchased drugs five times from a man in Lawrence she only knew as "Rock" and that she would "stock up" by bringing three small baggies of cocaine to school, but would provide the drug to other students without free of charge.

According to court documents, the charges stem back to December when Westford Academy officials were told that a 14-year-old male had ingested cocaine.

They tracked down the student and found that it had been a joke, although Hill overheard the incident and allegedly offered the young boy a small baggie of cocaine for free.

She is scheduled to return to Ayer District Court on September 12 for a pretrial conference.

We will attempt to obtain more information on this case as it arises.

Tony July 15, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Just another example of hard drugs at WA this year and principal Antonelli and Bill Olsen tell the community next to nothing! I had thought the comments about Antonellis 'sweep it under the rug broom' were a joke but now I don't know. Perhaps it's time the School Committee stepped in if Principal Antonelli is unwilling to keep us informed of this huge problem. '
Alex Finnegan July 15, 2012 at 05:39 AM
The SC claimed there was no problem. I think it was that guy Franklin who kept pressing Harkness on the issue until she finally decided to recheck her facts and came back with an "oops" and IMO a lame excuse as to why she didn't know about it. Again in my opinion, the Westford S.C. wants the reputation of the "super savvy, take no prisoners, we are the best, we have the best schools, we do it the cheapest, don't mess us" school committee. They like having the best schools that pound for pound is one of the cheapest. They want to be known as negotiating sharks but maintain an air of innocence and infallability. A problem like this, reflects poorly on them and Olsen and they will avoid it at all costs. They like to scrutinize, but do not want to be scrutinized themselves. Ie if you want to know about any of the schools failings, faults or shortcomings, you aren't going to get it from them. I've emails Olsen numerous times about different issues he has yet to respond. Harkness ducks or ambiguously replies to any questions about the schools in which blame could only be assigned to the s.c. I don't know which is worse, the s.c. truely not knowing about the drug incidents at W.A. or knowing about it but claiming (only after being pressed on the issue) it's not a problem.
Ron July 15, 2012 at 06:53 AM
No wondering he s co sponsoring a bill to crack down on teen drug users with all that's going on in his school. Maybe bringing back the police officer stationed at WA to arrest offenders rather than merely exclude (not even expell) drug users in school.
Westford Mom July 15, 2012 at 01:34 PM
The Westford Public School Committee would be smart to initiate drug testing on unannounced Monday mornings to all persons who are enrolled, paid, or volunteer in Westford Public Schools. No exceptions. Westford Public Schools, a supposedly "safe" environment where even "Room Mothers" are coried, what I want to know is why are we not screening the kids, who could just as well be endangering their own classmates? Under the supervision of the Westford Police Dept., everyone should be required to pee in a cup if they want an education from or to work in the Westford Public School System. Anyone who is over the age of 18 and still enrolled as a student should be coried like any other adult who has contact with our kids. No exceptions.
Dan C July 15, 2012 at 03:51 PM
The way many see it there are two related problems here: #1: The rampant drug use recently at the high school #2: The way the School Committee, Super Olsen, and especially Principal Antonelli have handled the problem in regard to keeping the community (Parents) informed, it's almost like they have gone out of their way to suppress and downplay rather than be honest and show some transparency. Not sure which is 'worse' but the teachers from what I read lost all faith trust and confidence in school leadership this year and now much of the community is following suit
David M July 15, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Hmm... That's an interesting idea. I'm sure implementing that would be fairly easy, provided we remove civil rights from the curriculum.
April S. July 15, 2012 at 08:38 PM
My daughter told me earlier in the year, that a freshman boy had been excluded because of cocaine. I would be interested to know if the two girls involved here were also excluded. I know that there are privacy issues, but why can't the WA principal and deans find someway to provide parents some information about what is going on over there? I believe that "Alex Finnegan" is correct; that the Westford School administration would rather keep all of us in the dark and keep the Westford Academy reputation as pure as can be. The parents need to know this type of thing is going on. If they care about the kids, they need to do right by them and inform parents and the community about what they are seeing at school and at school events.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Just a note to all, To my knowledge, disciplinary measures done by the School Committee occur during executive session, and thus are not open to the public. In articles written by the Westford Patch, we don't publish the names of minors without parental consent, and we never publish names of minors who are accused of an alleged crime. There's also a much higher ethical standard for any content, including comments, that discusses a particular minor. If I have accidentally allowed any inappropriate comments about minors to slip through so far, please let me know and I will remove them.
Dan C July 15, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Andrew, I think we all agree that the discussion shouldn't be about specific minors but rather how the administration (JA) has been negligent to the point of reckless with keeping us informed, what kind of ship is he running over there?
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Discussion on public officials is fine as long as it meets the TOS, and like I've said before, I will do my best not to step in. I just wanted to remind everyone here in regards to minors since this is a delicate subject given the circumstances of this town in case I hadn't made it clear already.
April S. July 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I completely understand the need to protect the privacy of students and/or minors. My point was more to the question that has been raised in the past; are all students in the school held up to the same standards, and is the same punishment (suspensions/exclusions/expulsions) given to out to the students who commit the same infraction. In this case, as reported in the Sun, 1 student allegedly took drugs in school and 2 allegedly provided the drugs; therefore all were allegedly involved with drugs on school property. And who knows if this is the same student that I heard about? Never heard a name from my child or here in the newspaper. Many parents that went to the "drugs in Westford" meeting back in April or May, expressed a deep concern that school officials were not providing information to the parents. Mr. Olsen, Jodi Ross, and Angela Harkness were there, and agreed that more information should be shared with the parents.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) July 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM
The student that provided the drugs wasn't a minor, but I understand and I apologize if I sounded a little too harsh there.
Vincent DiRico July 16, 2012 at 01:33 AM
"I've emails Olsen numerous times about different issues he has yet to respond. " Maybe he know you are not a resident and does not work for you (he has answered emails I sent to my girls principles)!
Amber July 16, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Issues surrounding hard drug use in Westford schools aren't new. I hope it doesn't mean I'm spreading poison by saying so. It seems more 'stating the obvious' than 'making accusations'. Seems to me, through personal experience and anecdotally, much less drug use goes down at the Tech than our beloved WA. :)
Franklin July 16, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I agree with you 100% Alex! I would also like to point out that although she initially asserted 0 students found with drugs at WA in the dog raid, them came back and admitted there had been ONE student whereas those who were there can tell you there were closer to half dozen or so in actuality. No mention to the public it's not just pot as the principal would have people think but Cocaine, Oxy, and Heroin. If I had my kids at this school right now I would be demanding accountability before my kid/kids walked through those doors this year
John Toms July 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I agree he (Antonelli) is working hard to keep drugs away from WA but perhaps the criticism he is falling WAY SHORT on the responsibility that comes with his position of keeping the community informed (generally speaking) of what is going on at WA. On the school website he types up a weekly newsletter and yet when it comes to anything of substance no dice. When questioned at a School Council meeting this spring by my neighbor Antonelli became outright evasive, defensive, and even belligerent from the account I was given.
Sam July 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
This outrage comes from a few teachers who are still ticked about their negotiation. Any chance to stick it to the school commitee, superintendant or WA principal they will take it.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I think there was a technical error where one comment didn't get through. If that's the case, the commenter is welcome to resubmit and I apologize for the error. If not, disregard.
Franklin July 16, 2012 at 04:05 PM
So Tom if this is true , for clarification, you believe there is not a significant drug problem at WA and the school Admin has done a respectable job keeping the community informed ?
Vincent DiRico July 16, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Given the "glee" / "I have to prove a point here" (you choose) on a a subject any good parent does not need parenting on, I say yes poison (for a different reason)
Vincent DiRico July 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
well said Clare B! While I don't have these extra parental responsibilities just yet I am laying a foundation (x 3) on the subject (drugs, alcoholism, ...).
Vincent DiRico July 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Tom, I am glad to hear I am not the only one onto the bitterness I think is driving many posts on this subject. thanks Vinny
Amber July 16, 2012 at 04:35 PM
We should assume access to a full range of drugs only if they have the money. The fact that some kids can afford to drop a wad of cash on a little blow doesn't mean they all can. You need means AND access to do drugs. I remember (aside from thinking it was gross) as a 13-year-old the cost of a pack of cigarettes was the biggest deterrent to ever starting up the habit because we didn't have the means in my family to afford even the $2.25 a week they cost. My friends dropped their lunch money on smokes. I barely ate lunch, when I did I certainly wasn't wasting it on cigarettes. :)
Clare B July 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I have, in the past, experienced Antonelli being overly defensive on issues, & I agree that it is not helpful. However, I do feel that here on Patch he is being made scapegoat for what is a wider social issue. From what I have heard, drugs are not widely used IN school, & are not generally being pushed on the premises. When drugs or drug paraphernalia have been found, they have most often been found in cars in the parking lot.  The very fact that this girl is being prosecuted is evidence that actions ARE being taken against those who offend IN school. The fact that this appears to be a 'pushing' situation, and that the drug in question was cocaine took this matter all the way to court, & I personally find this most reassuring. I find it most ironic that this news story is all about the school administration taking action against a serious offender, yet the comments section is full of negativity & criticism.
Franklin July 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
What role the school admin played isn't very clear from the article as it became a POLICE investigation quickly. The comments do reflect the conversations I have heard in the community which is that many are not happy with how Drugs/WA has been handled in regard to info, at the event in May Olsen acknowledged this and said he would speak with Antonelli about it but nothing seemed to change as all the news I have about drugs is from the press
Clare B July 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
What information are people looking for?? I don't really understand what people want Antonelli to say! It's common knowledge that there is plenty of drug use going on in town. Frankly, if you're not aware of that, you are living under a stone! It happens before school, after school, at weekends....  Indeed, school is probably the one place where drug use is actually limited! Penalties for drug use in school are harsher than for drug use on the streets, (for pot anyway) & kids know that.
Jamaal July 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
People want to know how many kids were found with drugs or under the influence of drugs this year? What drugs (heroin?) we're seized on school property? Were all students treated the same (I have heard not)? These are the questions that when asked Antonelli became very bully like I don't think having this info shared with having to pressure for it is unreasonable.
Sam July 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM
That is what I believe. I believe they are doing what all school systems attempt to do. That is to keep kids safe, which includes an amount of privacy, and provide a solid learning environment.
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM
This has gotten out of control. If there are any objectionable comments above that potentially went beyond the Terms of Service, let me know. Removing auto-approve did not work. I need to consult with my colleagues for some clearer guidelines for comments on these types of articles. Until then, comments are closed here and on all upcoming school articles.


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