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Updated: Two New Hope-Solebury High School students charged in alleged pot deal turned violent

new hope-solebury high school new hope free press

Update 9 p.m., March 8: Court records for second of two minors arraigned are nearly identical to first (below), including charges, age, and current status as confined to Bucks County Jail (unable to make bail of $100,000) pending a preliminary hearing next month. Both young men live in New Hope, and arrests were made by Solebury Police.

Update 5:40 p.m.: Court records for one of those charged – Male, age 17, New Hope.; Charges: Simple Assault, Robbery-Inflict Serious Bodily Injury, Theft by Unlawful Taking of Movable Property, Receiving Stolen Property, Conspiracy – Robbery Take Property from Other by Force, and Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A preliminary hearing has been set for April. Accused are being held in Bucks County Jail, unable to make bail of $100,000.

Some New Hope-Solebury High School parents were left scratching their heads Friday after receiving a letter from Principal Charles Malone about a “troubling event involving several of our students” that “occurred last Thursday evening, 2/27/15…outside of school.”

Released just before the weekend, the letter may have unintentionally raised more questions than it answered.

“A serious incident involving a few of our HS students did take place out of school,” reads the letter.

“The genesis of their actions stem from school, while the more serious acts took place off campus. Because student information is confidential and the investigation of these events is underway by both our administrative team and separately by local law enforcement authorities/agencies, we cannot share any additional information at this time,” the principal’s letter goes on to say.

A New Hope police official indicated the incident may not have occurred in the borough, and a Solebury Township police spokesperson referred questions to the school district.

Friday night, School Superintendent Raymond Boccuti confirmed that “the incident did not occur at the HS, but outside of school.”
He went on to say in a statement, “The administration informed the School Board there was a serious incident that occurred outside of school involving a few of our HS students. The administration is currently pursuing an open investigation of the matter in the interest of all, maintaining student confidentiality as appropriate. Mr. Malone, as our HS Principal, is the appropriate point person.
“Law enforcement is involved separate to our Administration’s investigation,” continued Dr. Boccuti. “At no time was anyone harmed or in any danger whatsoever at the HS. Thank you for your understanding and patience at this time,” he concluded.

Sources who requested anonymity told the Free Press that the incident purportedly centered on a marijuana deal gone bad involving three kids, one of whom was allegedly roughed up at a location “outside of school,” but not critically injured.

The assaulted minor, say these sources, was the seller in the transaction, and the two other minors allegedly brandished a firearm, then attacked the victim with their fists. Both assailants are currently being treated as adults and being held at the Bucks County Jail for charges including conspiracy to commit armed robbery, according to sources.

This story will be updated as facts continue to emerge.

About the author

Charlie Sahner

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." - Einstein


  • To The Parents of Youth in Pennsylvania,
    Know your child’s rights and the laws in PA. Contact: Juvenile Law Center and Education Law Center when your child is in trouble with the law and the school. Both are located in Philadelphia.

  • That’s profound.
    Mel can barely contain his giddiness at this story.
    A d-bag rich kid and his sidekick lackey stole a bag of weed from and roughed up another punk who cried to his principal and the cops like a b*tch.
    Predictably old Mel finds a way to blame his arch nemesis, the School Board
    Relax everybody.
    The republic will survive

  • As far as the boys being “alleged first time offenders”,as stated by Mr. Sahner, when the boys have their day in court in April, we will find out if this incident was really their first time.

  • I wouldn’t call it immaterial whether the gun was a toy, pellet, or real gun, unless you mean that in some legal sense I’m not knowledgable about.

    I’m sure the victim was terrified either way, and for that there should be consequences…but I’d much rather know that there was never an actual chance for someone to take a 9mm Luger to the chest. If it was a “toy” and thus only a prop to intimidate, then that’s a bad-but-far-less-terrible situation.

    On a macro level, the saddest part is that all of this happened over a leaf that’s now completely legal in 4 states plus Washington D.C., medically legal in 19 others, and decriminalized in many of the largest cities – and the trend is picking up steam fast. The illegality itself breeds violence because such risky paths must be taken just to obtain it.

    As for the former FBI agent – if he were coming in to teach students the truth, that would be fine with me. My fear is that he’d just be towing the official Federal line that marijuana should remain a Schedule 1 controlled substance – which is absolutely ludicrous.

    It’s unbelievably dangerous to keep teaching kids that marijuana belongs in the same category as heroin (Schedule 1) – and an even more restricted category than oxycodone, oxymorphone, or liquid morphine.

    Marijuana belongs in the same “scheduling” category as Yuengling or pinot noir.

    If we were honest with our kids about that – and educated them truthfully with that as a starting point – maybe they’d be more apt to believe us about the REAL dangers of oxy’s, heroin, etc. and we could focus our attention and money on cleaning up the real problems…

    …and I say all of this as a parent that has NEVER smoked marijuana in my life (after the first and only time I tried it 20 years ago).

    As the “reefer madness” generation goes the way of the dodo bird, so goes the propaganda our laws have been built on. The country’s attitude is changing state by state, city by city. It will be federally legal sooner than later – taxed, and rebuilding American infrastructure instead of being funneled to cartels south of the border.

    And as it is slowly normalized, with or without the help of the federal government, we as parents will worry about it in the same way that we worry about kids at a keg party. I’ll take that over wondering if they’re taking a quick drive down to a shady street corner in the Badlands to obtain something that’s 100% legal in other states any day.

  • As a graduate of NH-S (1973), this case is without precedent. Why did it take from Feb.26 until Mar. 4 before arrests were made? It’s immaterial if the one kid had a pellet gun – the victim was only shown a portion of it in the robber’s belt – he thought it was real. Ask any bank teller about that. Drug education? Ha! I remember we had that starting in the 1960’s: some will listen, and others will not.

  • Regarding the gun. It is my understanding that even if the gun were a toy gun, if the victim perceives the gun to be real, then the attackers will be charged as if the gun were real.
    What’s really bothersome about the situation is the fact that the administration refuses to use this incident to educate its students to the fact that what was to be a simple simple drug deal can go terribly wrong even if it takes place outside the inner city. And please note a few years ago a former FBI agent living in the school district who was involved in drug law enforcement who was experienced in giving seminars about drugs and what can go wrong offered his services free of charge. The superintendent flat out refused his services claiming(and I have the email to prove it)that he didn’t like the agent’s “tone”.

  • Dave – I know nothing about this incident other than what I’ve read here – do you know for a fact it was a pellet gun? I hadn’t heard that before and, if true, that really changes the flavor of this.

    When I read “firearm” my mind jumps to the worst case scenario and picture these kids with a Glock or a shotgun…if it was actually a pellet gun, it’s still terrible but certainly a very different situation.

    I hope it was a pellet gun and nothing more serious, and if that is factually the case I wish it would be reported as such (which is why I ask if you know that to be true)….

    Either way it’s a troubling, but no worse than happened in high schools in even the best towns all the time when I was in school, or for that matter when my father was as far back as the 50’s and 60’s. The things they did in the Easy Rider era, even in a “good” town, would have them in jail for 20 years now because of how fast stories spread via the internet/social media/etc today.

    • Pellet gun is what has been passed through the grapevine. I agree, if it turns out to be a real gun. Whole different story. Either way, its a shame. No doubt the three youth involved did not think things through and need to be reprimanded at some level, but charging as adults seems harsh. Some of these charges are felonies. IF the charges stick, their futures are done, good luck finding employment. I like to think all youth are good, some of them just make bone headed decisions. I’m pretty sure that is what happened here; good kids making really bad choices.

      • A law enforcement officer who was not authorized to speak said that as alleged first-time offenders, they will be difficult to hold. The seller has to get out of Dodge, but will not be charged. There’s probably 5 more to take his place, and as a parent I’m more concerned about purported violence, especially if it hypothetically fits within a theoretical pattern of behavior.

  • My two cents: Media ruining three kids lives. I have never been in trouble with the law but I think back to the 80’s when I was in high school. We fisticuffed weekly, then you and who ever you fought were best friends the next week. There were alcohol transactions between kids that went bad and ended up in fights, there were shwag bag transactions that led to fights, etc etc, but no one was ever arrested or charged. It sounds like two idiots thought they would get over on a classmate who was selling weed by using a pellet gun. It ended in a fight. The kid should not have been selling pot, the two kids should not have been buying pot. Lets not ruin their lives over this though. We have become a very scary society that is very unforgiving to youth. Lets take a look at ourselves 30 years ago before we judge todays youth and rob them of their future. They are juveniles being charged as adults.

    What it comes down to is it was pot and a fight. It wasn’t crack and a real gun.

  • At the New hope Solebury School Board Meeting held last night,March,16, Supt. Raymond Boccuti did not mention one word about the incident in his monthly Superintendent’s Report even though he has spoken to the press as seen in New Hope Free Press article.
    In addition,the high school representatives to the Board who give monthly reports about their high school (and last night’s was extensive) also did not have anything to say about the incident.

  • Out Of The Mouths of Babes comes the truth as shown by Anna Sirianni. If she and others, who think the way she does, really want to make an impact, I would suggest that they come to the next school board meeting which will be held this coming Monday at 6:30 PM March 16th in the administrative building connected to the high school. She will be given three minutes to speak during the Public Comment portion of the meeting.Hopefully, in addition,she can have someone video tape her comments and comments of others and put it where it will really have impact- ON U TUBE.
    Both Anna and her family should be aware of how the administration in this district operates. They will quietly and nicely reach out to her or get a teacher or staff member that she trusts to say let’s talk about it in private which will be an attempt to shut her up.
    Her answer must be- Thank you,but no thank you. If you wish to talk to talk to me,it will be OUT in the open at the meeting which is audio taped.

  • For students at NH-S such as myself, the most infuriating part of this story is not only the violence and drug use present in our community, but the school’s reaction to it. The receiver of the “robbery”, “force”, “assault”, and infliction of, “serious bodily injury” was expelled from school, while one of the two perpetrators remained at school prior to his arrest. This occurred off of school grounds, so how could anyone- especially the victim- be expelled? If conspiring to deal on school grounds is punishable by expulsion, then half the student body could be expelled (remember 2010’s study?) The victim is not only damaged by the excessive physical abuse he received, but by being torn from any chance at graduating this spring. NH-S should have immediately implemented a drug education program, and maybe sent the victim to DEFY or a similar program, instead of neglecting the issue overall by expelling him.

  • Wait a minute. I know I’m not asleep and dreaming. As I look out the window I don’t see monkeys or pigs flying. It’s too warm today for hell to be freezing over….and here we have Old Mel with an extremely judicious, fair, non-crankish, non-I-told-you-so comment that I agree with 100%.

  • When Supt. Boccuti said that,”the administration is currently pursuing an open investigation…”, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that students will be asked to come forward if they have any information about the incident? Does it mean that the students will be called in and asked questions WITHOUT the presence of their parents?
    Here’s my advice. If any student has information about the incident or background information about the students in question, that student must first speak to his parents. if the parents feel the information is pertinent, then in no way shape or form should the student and his family share it with the administration. Rather, they must share it with the Solebury Police Department AND simultaneously share it with the District Attorney’s office located in Doylestown. And to make sure there will be checks and balances, the parents must keep open the option of speaking to the media.
    This is a criminal investigation. Hopefully, the administration will recognize that they are educators and not law enforcement.

  • In a small community news travels faster that a fire in row houses being hit with winds of hurricane force.I knew about the incident days before Principal Malone sent out the letter no doubt with the approval of his boss, Supt. Boccuti. I believe that the letter was damage control. After all, how does it look if the administration turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to a very serious situation.

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