Autistic Teen Arrested For Attempting To Sell Sugar Packets At School [Video]

An autistic teen was arrested and put in jail for allegedly trying to sell sugar packets at school. The teen has reportedly been diagnosed with a mild form of autism and has the mental capacity of an 11-year-old.

The teen from St. Mary’s, Ohio was allegedly transferring sugar into a soda straw wrapper and telling other teens it was a “secret sugar rush concoction.” The 16-year-old got the sugar from the school cafeteria during lunch.

St. Mary’s Memorial High School contacted authorities had the boy arrested as part of their “zero tolerance policy.” According to the school’s handbook, the policy states:

“In conjunction with the board policy, the St. Marys City Schools are a drug free zone and the Board of Education has zero tolerance for substance abuse or possession on school property. The school will cooperate fully with police investigation including but not limited to the use of canine patrol programs subject to the Board of Education policy.”

The school “declined to comment” on the incident or how it fell under the parameters of their policy. As a result of attempting to sell sugar packets, the autistic teen was arrested on a probation and taken to jail.

The teen’s parents, Rob and Heidi Pence, were outraged. As reported by Fox 45, Rob Pence cannot understand how sugar provided by the cafeteria led to his son’s arrest:

“He attempted to sell this as his secret sugar rush concoction. His maturity and emotional development is somewhere around the level of a 10 year old or 11. It was very obviously sugar, within a wrapper, candy wrapper. They knew they weren’t dealing with any drug. My son totally uprooted and slammed into jail over a sugar packet is completely unacceptable to me.”

The teen’s mother Heidi posted a statement about the incident on her Facebook page. In the post, Heidi states that this is the second time the school has called the police and had her son arrested for a “frivolous matter.”


Heidi blames “zero tolerance policies.” She cites a the case of a 5-year-old girl in Pennsylvania who was suspended for a “terrorist threat” after using a bubble gun at school.

The teen’s parents are reportedly exploring their options and considering sending their son to a different school.

The sugar packet that led to the autistic teen’s arrest is currently being analyzed in the Miami Valley Crime Lab.