‘High’ school living up to its name: Drug use on the rise

By Brooke Karakey / Perry High School

Mouths were agape as new statistics surfaced acknowledging the 14% of students who admit to using drugs during school hours, while another 60% admit to knowing drugs are sold at their school. As a matter of fact, for the first time since the 1980’s more teens are smoking marijuana than cigarettes as students fear of drugs steadily declines. But in the highly supervised Chandler schools without off campus lunches or any locations to participate in the consumption of illicit substances, how much truly escape the watchful eye?

“During school I’ve done weed a couple of times, I’ve never done meth. I’ve also dropped acid in the theater bathroom,” affirmed Perry High school student, Matthew Emmerson. “I know a few kids [that get high on campus also], like 10 or 20 – at least. After school it’s a big deal, we do it outside near the stairway that has a dip so you’d have to be at the edge look down to see who’s in there. And it’s right next to the door so before we’d go into class, we’d get really high.”

In such a vast school, there are several places that can be easily overlooked. With the number of students enrolling in schools expanding at such rapid rates, it is virtually impossible to supervise every liability.

“It’s not a huge problem here, partially because we don’t allow kids to go leave campus,” said PHS Principal, Dan Serrano. “At some of the other schools I’ve heard of it can be a big problem, especially at lunch.”

Additionally, in classes with large numbers of kids sometimes surpassing 30 students, occupied teachers cannot be omnipresent and oversee everything that is happening in the classroom.

“Well, I know kids that smoke weed before going to school, and do it purposefully to go to school stoned,” stated junior, Aaron Gurrola. “Or they would go into culinary and spike their food with pot.”

Historically at PHS, very few boys and girls have been seized for possession of banned narcotics, hallucinogens or inhalants. Nevertheless, repercussions are harsh as any and all recreational drugs discovered will be confiscated and the perpetrator face consequences.

“[For getting caught high or with drugs] typically, it’s a 10 day suspension, by law we can only suspend a student for 10 day after that you have to go to court ,” said Serrano. “If you get caught a second time you won’t be back on campus for a year. The worst thing you can do is if you get caught distributing which means if you have it packaged for sale or we catch you selling it – that could mean an expulsion which means you can never go back to the school or possibly and school in Chandler.”

All in all, students tend to have their own personal justifications for taking chances in spite of the possible aftermath.

“School sucks; it made it funner and easier to cope with school,” Emmerson reasoned. “Although, I have been pretty close to being caught, yeah. They pulled me up to the office because I was bullying a kid apparently and I had two grams of weed in my jacket lining and three lighters in various pockets that were bulging and I was slightly high and It was like ‘Oh s***, I might get caught’ and I started to shake. I told myself to calm down because it seemed obvious. One year a teacher has noticed, I think. I was crazier than usual in her classroom: I had done 3 lines of coke.”

With 20% of adolescents testifying to trying drugs, they must be acquiring it from somewhere. Each school varies concerning drug dealing, but no school is exempt from it.

“[I have bought from somebody at school], at Perry, I know about three minor dealers, we don’t have any major ones here.”

Schools continue to battle against any illegal activity, but against odds such as student population, ability to attain and demand, only so much can be done to prevent the escalation of contraband.

*Matthew Emmerson was used in place of the students real identity, as the real name of the student cannot be disclosed.