Feature: Opinion: Recent Drug Bust Reveals M-A’s Lack of Drug Awareness

Use of marijuana among M-A students is widespread.

On October 29th, just two days before Halloween, two M-A students were caught smoking marijuana in the boys’ locker room and found to be holding and selling various illegal materials.

The students, who will remain nameless for confidentiality, were “hot boxing” the room – filling the space with smoke in order to intensify the drug’s effect – before first period. Uncomfortable walking around school in physical possession of a large amount of drugs, one of the students used his locker to store an ounce and a half of marijuana, THC wax, and amateur fireworks.

As the drugs began to reek, the physical education teachers started to take notice. “One morning it just really smelled in the locker room,” says PE teacher and Cross Country coach Eric Wilmurt, “We had ideas of what it could be…so the campus aide came down, opened a few of the lockers, and lo and behold there’s just a bunch of drugs and paraphernalia.”

Disciplinary Vice Principal Kennel declined to give more information on the incident, saying that she “can’t discuss any discipline issues because it is confidential information,” but that “if someone is in possession of more than an ounce, we are required to inform the police.”

Wilmurt mentioned that after the students had been identified, the school “called the police and dealt with it in the office.”

With the number of students who smoke marijuana on the rise, it is safe to say that drug prevention is not working. Out of 200 Menlo-Atherton students, 90% admitted to knowing someone who has brought marijuana on campus and 34% admitted to bringing it on campus themselves.

Vice Principal Losekoot was understandably disappointed with these findings. “It’s not something I’m happy about. The culture of California is moving towards more acceptance of marijuana and I’d love to see it go back the other way… where it wasn’t as easy to get.” Losekoot believes that California’s medical marijuana industry is the reason for the large amount of student drug users. “The whole process of how medical marijuana works in California makes it easy and makes it seem like it’s okay to do. ‘It’s just marijuana,’ that’s the culture around here.”

However, “it’s just marijuana” is not only the message conveyed in California culture, but also, I believe, the implied message of the Menlo-Atherton drug policies. According to Kennel and the student handbook, if a student is found with an ounce or less of marijuana they have a total of three offenses before they are recommended for expulsion. However, if a student is found with a much harder drug, the consequences can be much more severe. “If they’re harder drugs like ecstasy or any type of methamphetamine, that’s an automatic recommendation for expulsion,” Kennel explains.

Now the question remains: is the administration helping ensure that marijuana stays off campus? Admin is already fully aware of the amount of drugs being brought on campus; however, it seems that there is no official M-A campaign against drugs like there is against bullying. “I think the majority of drug education comes out in the form of what happens in science class,” says Losekoot. “But outside of [that] there is no overarching banner of what drugs do to you.”