What Is Extent Of Drug Problem In Local Schools?
ON NOV. 27, Assistant Principal Al Gallup of Huron High School was quoted in The News as saying that "drugs are sold on Huron High grounds and in the school almost as a daily occurrence." There was little, if any, public reaction to the statement, which must make teachers who read it wonder if anyone cares how they react to the problem in their daily association with students. Since then a parent has come to The News to relate the experiences of two of his children in drug contacts at Pioneer High School. His belief that traffic in drugs, and not only marijuana, is widespread among students was confirmed, he says, by talks with one of his children's counselors. Reports of "easy" drug purchases have been common, and the rumors have been so widely circulated that some high school students have taken advantage of the situation by selling tea, tobacco and other substances as marijuana. THE NEWS has made preliminary approaches to the schools and police to try to determine the extent of the problem and what help, if any, could be provided by news media. Both, of course, are well aware of the problem, and neither is quite sure how widespread is the use and distribution of drugs. Pólice are particularly concerned about what they regard as lack of cooperation from parents and others who know of the drug problem in the schools and I could provide information. It is understandable that parents who suspect or know a boy or girl is using drugs prefer to try to work out the problem themselves. Teachers or counselors may believe, too, that they can keep the confidence of youths with a drug problem by not reporting to higher authorities or to pólice. Both should realize, however, that without some kind of specific information on which to act pólice are powerless to shut off the supply of drugs showing up on school grounds and in the possession of students. A STRONG inhibiting factor is the severity of present laws covering the possession of marijuana. There are laudable steps under way to modify them. John Sinclair, probably Michigan's most notorious user of marijuana because of his current prison term at Marquette, criticized The News in a letter on this page last Tuesday because we had said use of marijuana sometimes leads to use of stronger drugs. We were not speaking in terms of addiction, It stands to reason that I a eert a in percentage of those using marijuana will go to other drugs simply from the fact that they have an established contact with persons who can provide a variety of narcotics. PARENTS concerned about a drug problem in the schools can take no comfort in the presence. of a policeman stationed part-time at each of the two public high schools. He is known to the students, and they are not going to do anything in his presence. There is no cause for panic about the situation here, and Ann Arbor is no different from other school districts of its size in relation to this problem. But there should be serious concern on the part of teachers and parents that the dangers inherent in drug use are known to the students, and that steps necessary to halt the supply from outside are being taken.