Parents raise unwarranted concern; South promotes drug free culture

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Parents raise unwarranted concern; South promotes drug free culture

Illustration by Sarah Warner

Illustration by Sarah Warner

Illustration by Sarah Warner

Illustration by Sarah Warner

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For parents watching their kids grow through middle school and approach high school, a discussion about drugs becomes inevitable. Most can only hope that their kids will never have to deal with such an issue, but to others, it’s their biggest fear.

Talk of marijuana-infused goods being sold in the cafeteria and heroin use on school property are amongst other rumors that caused upwards of 40 parents to attend a district board meeting in early August, according to the Glenview Lantern, to suggest an increase in deterrents between both Glenbrook North and South.The mass of parents, in comparison to the usual five or so, made a front-page headline in the Glenview Lantern and the Northbrook Tower.

Considering Glenbrook South’s extensive efforts to dissuade drug use, such grievances came as a shock to students and faculty alike. The Oracle Editorial Board believes that the expressed public concern of the parents, which has insinuated fear, has little factual basis.

According to statistics released on Sept. 26 during a board meeting about the drug issue, only 16 code of conduct incidents were reported between the Glenbrooks during the 2015-16 school year. This was a decrease from the 21 incidents the prior year.

With the statistics showing a steady decrease in code of conduct since 2011, they additionally boast of no repeat offenders from 2014 into this year. Looking directly at drug related issues, heroin use, which was a concern of the parents, has been entirely eliminated, according to the same statistics.

In reducing the number of incidents, Principal Lauren Fagel claims the schools had no need for the deterrents suggested by the parents at the board meeting, such as drug sniffing dogs and random drug tests.

“[GBS has] a good story to tell,” Fagel said. “We have Illinois Youth Survey statistics that show the reality [of it]. And nobody, not at the board, not the superintendent, not the principals; no one is saying there’s not a drug problem, but it’s not unique to Glenbrook South or Glenbrook North, and drug dogs aren’t going to fix it.”

Despite the respectable track record of the Glenbrooks that the district has made, it is unsatisfactory to some. According to GBN mother Shelby Truman*, Glenbrook administration has played the largest role in the drug issue.

“[…] The Glenbrook [administrators] do not want to do something about [the drug issue] in order to deter and educate all young people,” Truman said. “[…] It’s been the same thing: [parents] asking questions and demanding [the administration to] talk to us.”

From a freshman’s first Rights and Responsibilities talk in gym class to the service of anti-drug clubs such as Students For Students (S4S)**, there is a defined notion against drug usage throughout the South community. The Oracle Editorial Board praises South for creating such an environment, finding claims that parents would suggest more precautions be taken unnecessary and unwarranted.

Parents from the meeting, consisting mostly of Glenbrook North families, according to Superintendent Mike Riggle, looked at high schools like Buffalo Grove High School to admire their more aggressive drug deterrents, such as the use of drug sniffing dogs.

David Hochberg, a Northbrook parent who was present at the meeting, reported hearing stories of students driving to school drunk and being under the influence of marijuana on the property. According to Hochberg, the stories are causing fear among other families and incoming freshmen that drug distribution is present even on school busses. One example is his eighth grade daughter who will attend GBN next year.  

“I get that drugs are around here; [the administration is] not going to stop the drugs,” Hochberg said. “But, what are we doing to [dissuade] it? And all I get is that, ‘The teachers have it under control; it’s not a problem.’ That’s just a sophomoric response to a gigantic problem. [The administration doesn’t] want to admit that there’s a problem in our community with drugs.”

Megan Shipp, S4S sponsor, says upon hearing these concerns, that she understands parents’ fears, but claims stricter actions will only worsen the problem.

“[I realized] that from being from this area and having the endless amount of resources that kids in this area do, that they’re going to find another way [to use drugs],” Shipp said. “If a kid wants to use drugs, they’re going to find a way to do that… We have to go deeper into the root of the problem.”

That being said, the Editorial Board understands that parents only want what’s best for their kids, and it’s easy to express fear when drug use is a national issue. However, the Editorial Board proposes that parents look deeper into the topic of drugs, especially looking towards the steps the school is making to discourage drug use instead of focusing on rumors.

Among students, it’s crucial that we support each other in moving towards an entirely drug-free school. With that in mind, the Oracle Editorial Board praises clubs like S4S for their use of community support to shift South toward being entirely drug-free.

“Our philosophy isn’t that we’re the drug police of Glenbrook South,” S4S Leader Joey Petroline said.  “We want to show the benefits of being drug and alcohol free more so than pushing down people who use drugs. So instead of pushing people down who may not make the healthy decisions, we want to bring the people up who are making the healthy decisions.”

So parents, instead of requesting that the school challenge drug users with more intense deterrents, encourage the Glenbrooks to keep up with drug-free clubs, events and discussions. In order to keep drug users a minority, we must make drug-free thoughts the majority.

*name has been changed

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