Pubdate: Tue, 03 Mar 2009
Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2009 Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: Colin Purcell


I have to wonder if there's more to this story about the five
teenagers who were expelled from school for smoking pot. Could the
principal have been actively looking for a reason to expel them? I'm
not saying this is the case, but could they have been slackers and
troublemakers to begin with? Because it seems absolutely ridiculous
that they could be expelled for something so harmless. And if it
really happened off school grounds, and off school time, then I can't
see any logic behind such an extreme reaction.

At the root of this problem there might be fundamental misconceptions
about marijuana use and teenagers in general.

First, anyone who's had exposure to drugs or has taken the time to do
some research knows there's a world of difference between smoking weed
and abusing drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine (crystal
meth). So we're talking about expelling some kids for doing something
that may or may not be any worse than smoking cigarettes.

Second, anyone in the education system must (or at least should) know
that teenagers are going to experiment when it comes to alcohol, sex,
drugs and the like. To preach and expect complete abstinence is
irresponsible, futile and just plain stupid.

And what's this business about "trafficking?" Selling your friend a
dime-bag of pot is not trafficking. That interpretation is an abuse of
power and completely outside of the spirit of the law. If you pick up
a 12-pack of beer on the way to a party and sell your friend six of
them when you get there you're doing him a favour, not bootlegging. I
highly doubt these kids are trafficking anything.

I would have assumed a school principal would be more understanding
and in tune with teenage culture. I'd have a hard time coming up with
more than a few names of friends and acquaintances (born after 1960)
that have never smoked pot at least once. Even Barak Obama has
admitted to experimenting with drugs as a youth! Maybe I'm making
assumptions about what generation is currently wielding power in our
local school system. Maybe we'll have to wait for the next generation
of educators before we can expect more rational thinking. Any way you
look at it, the behaviour of the officials at PCVS is completely

In the meantime, let's try to accept these kids for what they are:
Teenagers growing up, not Colombian drug lords.

My advice to the teenage readers: The next time a vice-principal
demands that you hand over your cell phone, "just say no."

Colin Purcell

Braidwood Avenue
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