Scott Schwirian, the adult education student representing Marchman Technical Education Center this week at the national SkillsUSA competition, almost didn't make the trip.
Schwirian, 25, was arrested Thursday on a charge of possession of marijuana, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. He was pulled over about 4:30 a.m. near his Spring Hill home while riding a bicycle without proper reflectors or lights, the deputy's report said.
The deputy wrote that Schwirian "appeared to be impaired," and a search of his pockets turned up a small bag containing 2 grams of marijuana, the report said. Court records show Schwirian has several previous arrests, and was on drug offender probation for possession of prescription drugs.
The arrest happened a couple of days before Schwirian was set to fly to Kansas City for the SkillsUSA 46th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference. The travel costs were being covered by the school district's Community, Career and Technical Education Department, as well as student contributions.
Schwirian's teacher and mentor, Don Blake, said he got the blessing of the judge and bail bondsman for Schwirian to make the trip.
But the Pasco school district's code of conduct says a student involved in sports or extracurricular activities who is arrested "may receive a suspension of 20 school days from practice and competition that is a part of the regular school year."
Marchman principal Sheila Bryan said Tuesday that she did not know about Schwirian's arrest.
"If I had known, I would have not allowed him to go," she said.
She said the matter will be addressed when Blake and Schwirian return from the trip.