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

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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.”

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12 Responses to “Opinion: Recent Drug Bust Reveals M-A’s Lack of Drug Awareness”

  1. rgordan on November 29th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Nice article, sounds like the entire school should take a new look at its drug policy

  2. sparish on November 29th, 2012 6:53 pm

    Drug use is so widespread at MA…I’ve definitely seen people dealing a few times. It’s a shame that nothing can really be done about it

  3. Virsies on November 29th, 2012 7:28 pm

    Personally, I don’t see any harm in legalizing marijuana, but bringing it on campus is a completely different story. It seems almost inevitable that people will smoke on their own time but bringing it onto a school campus affects other students, including ones that may be adamantly against it. I think the admin should crack down on drugs on campus, even if it’s “just marijuana.” I do wonder how the legalization of marijuana would influence the severity of bringing it on campus.

    josephrabinovitsj Reply:

    I do agree, although I think marijuana should be legalized for various economic reasons I do not think that any drug of any kind should be permitted on campus in any way merely for the sake of maintaining an academic environment. Although I believe people should be wary of the adverse health effects associated with any kind of drug, what one chooses to do on his/her own time is none of my business so long as a third party is not in any harm. However, bringing and doing drugs on campus demonstrates disrespect for the spirit of academic knowledge that should persist in any learning institution and disrespect all of those who uphold these values and should thus not be permitted in the slightest.

  4. eddy on November 29th, 2012 7:34 pm

    actualy will, you’re wrong. nobody was caring wax or firecrackers.

  5. Kevin on November 29th, 2012 7:45 pm

    I am a fan of marijuana legalization, and heartily disagree with Losekoot. Marijuana will always be easy to get. It’s a plant after all, one that needs TLC for the THC. There’s no refining process similar to harder drugs such as MDMA and Cocaine. Although I for sure believe that anyone over the age of 18 believes themselves capable of handling it, they should be free to make that decision, and the government should stay out of it. Although I feel similarly about all drugs, that’s a moot point in this discussion.

    Having said that however, marijuana shouldn’t be on campus. If people want to do it outside of school, the school has no part in making that decision, however, inside of the school, during school hours, there is no reason why people should be carrying around marijuana. It’s very difficult for me to say that administrators and/or teachers should have the right to search a student’s backpack, because that’s not what I believe, but the only alternative is the “honor system”.

    Please, if anyone has disagreements or any ideas on how to curb this problem, speak up now, not later on after draconian policies have been implemented and you’re whining about it with your friends.

  6. Elohim on November 29th, 2012 8:20 pm

    I personally think that it would be a grand joke if MA wasted time and money trying to preach to students to stay away from drugs. Look how far D.A.R.E. has gone in middle and elementary schools. In the end, people will do whatever they want to do, and if everyone tells them not to do it chances are they’ll want to do it even more, mostly out of curiosity as to why so many people are telling them to stay away from it. Yeah, it would be a huge distraction if students started smoking on the benches at lunch, but they aren’t. A lot of people didn’t even know this happened until you published this. I know the guilty students and they’re idiots, but they were making money and arguably making a lot of students’ lives enjoyable. Idiots will be idiots, happy idiots at that. I still don’t know why people try, try, and keep trying to change that. Make an article on making fried green tomatoes or something. I’d be much obliged if the mark had some practical and useful articles, like tips on how to make the turn on Oakgrove and Middlefield without killing someone. I couldn’t tell you how many morons keep almost crashing into me there.

    kwoods Reply:

    Elohim – Schools do work to educate students about the negative effects of drugs through programs such as D.A.R.E. and science classes, but ultimately it is up to the students to decide for themselves. While “idiots may be idiots,” the administration is working to maintain a positive educational environment, and I believe that drugs have no place on a school campus. In regard to your comment about “useful and practical articles,” students on the M-A Bear News staff have the freedom to write about anything they feel opinionated about (within certain limitations), and Will and Evan had valid reasoning behind their arguments. If you have any further suggestions for stories, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

  7. jrafael on November 29th, 2012 10:37 pm

    I think that is marijuana article was very well written and informative of what is going on at MA. great job Will and Evan.

  8. Sarah on November 30th, 2012 9:05 pm

    Great job will! this really oppened my eyes to alot of marijuana issues, i agree it should be legalized.

  9. David Schmitt on December 3rd, 2012 4:11 pm

    I think that Loosekoot raised a valid point; I know that, at least in my case, more than one of my science teachers mentioned the harmful effects of drugs in an academic context.

  10. bwiener on December 4th, 2012 7:59 pm

    This is absolutely shocking! I had no idea that people were selling drugs at M-A. Don’t they know marijuana is illegal? Shameful.

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