How to tell if your child is on drugs–especially if you think it couldn’t be your kid.
Maybe I’m lucky, but in the twelve years I’ve taught (at an urban, socio-economically challenged middle school) I’ve never seen illegal substances. I’ve heard a story or two about marijuana, but that’s about it. Having said that, it came as a shock to me last week that two of my leadership students, one being the student body vice president, were caught doing ecstasy at school.
Once the initial shock wore off, I and our school’s dean (of discipline) began an investigation of the incident. To make two long stories very short, one student did the drug in a game of “truth or dare,” and the other to garner attention and be cool. “Truth or dare” and trying to fit in and be “cool” are normal enough for middle school students, but to do this? These two students had quite a bit to lose: in June, we’re scheduled to go to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. These two students aren’t going, obviously, and will have much regret.
As the investigation moved forward, it became clear that the source of the drugs (the same person for both of my students) was, as is to be expected, a poor student who frequently finds himself in trouble. Birds of a feather, as they say, tend to flock together, which is what is puzzling here. These two girls are (were) model citizens, with grades of A and B and nothing else. Never a discipline issue–until now.
We hear a lot about peer pressure. Both cases here involve an element of it. The “truth or dare” situation involved impressing a boy, and the other girl wanted attention and to fit in. Perhaps she felt pressure to so “cool” things, like taking drugs.
The moral of this story is simple: we must never forget that no matter how wonderful we think our child is, his or her friends or peers have the power to turn the best of students into another category entirely. Parents with whom I’ve spoken all agree that they need to monitor their childrens’ friends. Even if your son or daughter is the valedictorian, please remember that valedictorians are still thirteen (or in high school, eighteen), viagra in india and might be hanging out with people who don’t always make good choices.
Mr. Franklin has been teaching for the Los Angeles Unified School District for eleven years. He has won
District and County Teacher of the Year awards, as well as the prestigious Bank of America Community Hero award. Before teaching, he spent five years at Learning Forum, which runs summer camps world-wide that increase student academic potential.