Drug bust evidence now an educational tool

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — A large grow light sits on a table in the kitchen at New London High School. It was once part of a major marijuana grow operation and now it’s there to help teach kids.

new london pot lights 1Students in the summer program have quickly grown their own green thumbs.

But the gardens behind the high school and the adjacent the Science and Technology Magnet High School can’t continue all year long once the weather turns cold.

That is why Chef Tomm Johnson along with New London High’s resource officer figured out how they could get their hands on some industrial grow lights.new london pot lights 2

“These lights were confiscated by the Connecticut State Police,” says Det. Sgt. Lawrence Keating with the New London Police Department.

new london pot lights 3They were seized in drug busts. Evidence once slated to be destroyed is now an educational tool.

The six grow lights will be used to expand the hydroponic and aquaponic operations at the schools.

“These lights would have probably been two or three thousand dollars,” says Chef Tomm. “So quite a bit of savings for us.”

“Better legal than illegal,” says Jovan Aimetti who is taking part in the summer program. He is going into his senior year at New London High.

Culinary and science students will work together and learn together to install the lights in their grow operation.new london pot lights 4

“To give the students a little bit of a perception of sustainability in that regard is very valuable,” says Chuck Mulligan who teaches marine and environmental programs at the Science & Technology Magnet High School.

“I was born and raised in New London so to see anything for the students really means a lot to all of us,” says Det. Sgt. Keating.

new london pot lights 5Police will keep an eye out for more seized equipment so these programs can be expanded to the middle and elementary schools in the city.

“I think that it’s nice that we get to use them for a different purpose,” says Bryson Doughty who will be going into the eighth grade in the fall.

Another type of sustainability is baked up in the kitchen at the school. The students make garlic rosemary focaccia bread.

They then sell it at farmers markets in Groton and New London and at the Fiddleheads Food Co-op. The money made supports their program.

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