Drugs at Skyline

Bianca Fairchild, Editor In Chief

 Only a couple weeks ago, I simply had to go to the school bathroom after having late breakfast in class to brush my teeth and put my Invisalign trays back in. While I was innocently standing there brushing my teeth, a group of three girls came into the bathroom and started to have a giggly, frankly indiscreet conversation.

 The girls were bragging about how they had been caught in another girls’ bathroom smoking weed, but got off scot-free when pulled into the office and talked to by administrators. Oddly enough, not even an hour before my teacher had been pulled out of our class to go to the same girls’ bathroom they were discussing, with a strong smell of marijuana emitting from the hallway.

 As we began to investigate, we discovered that many believe this kind of incident isn’t uncommon. It’s easy to say that students at Skyline see or hear about substances at school almost everyday, whether its a kid vaping in the bathroom, finding cigarettes out on the foyer, or hearing rumors about other students using drugs. However, disciplinary actions don’t always follow.

 The student handbook states that on the first offense when using a substance, the student should receive a one to five day suspension and the administration will call parents, at the least. For the second offense, the student’s parents should be called and a petition for expulsion will be made. On the third offense, the parents will be called again, and the students will be expelled.

 When WSS asked Assistant Principal Jody Immel how we handle drug use at our school, she gave a similar answer to the handbook:

  “We usually suspend them, then have them arrested. Cowley writes the ticket and I do the suspension. Depending on if they’ve gotten in trouble before, we’ll either put them in a diversion program or charge them and put them before a judge. Typically, that ends up with probation or jail time.”

 Looking at the situation with the student in the girl’s bathroom, Immel told us that she couldn’t find enough evidence to punish the students:

  “I did get a report that there were some girls smoking pot in the bathroom, but when I got down there, they weren’t smoking and I couldn’t find any drugs on anyone. The person who turned them in didn’t know who they were. There’s no reason why they would’ve gotten away with it if I could’ve found anything.”

 But this raises the question, do we do enough to find evidence and punish this kind of behavior? As a matter of fact, the only investigation the girls described was plainly being asked if they were high. When the girls lied and said no, they said they were let go. Immel explained, “They may have gotten away with it, but it’s just because I couldn’t find anything.”

 After interviewing multiple sources, it appears that this is a common issue at Skyline. However, it’s hard to find the truth because different sources gave us different responses, all contradicting each other. One teacher in particular told WSS:

 “I’ve had kids come to class high before. This year, kids have been coming to class with vapes. Usually, if I catch them with this stuff I call down the administration. The time a kid came to class high, I had an administrator come down and evaluate them. When I had a kid I suspected had a vape, I called the administration and they searched them. Depending on what they find, [the administration] will typically suspend a student. But, that time the kid I caught with a vape didn’t get suspension at all, he was back at school the next day.”

  The problem here seems to have multiple layers: the school can’t punish students because they can’t find sufficient evidence, but witnesses can’t help much either; however, a lot of people are afraid to speak up about the things they see. All around, it appears that we have some things to improve on to eliminate drug use at Skyline.