I Don't Want to Be a Narc
This isn't really related to sharing educational ideas, but as a first year teacher I thought I'd share a bad thing that happened today at school.
The other English teacher and I wrote a grant during our planning period today. We took a break and were looking out of the window at some of the students hanging out below. Our school is very small, and we were just talking about some of the students and enjoying our free time. Suddenly, my co-worker said, "Oh, my God, 'Annie' just pulled a bag of weed out of her backpack!"
I wasn't sure at first, but it became clear that the student did indeed have pot in a backpack, but she called out to another student. It was the other student's backpack.
We didn't know what to do. We decided to call the students up and yell at them. We made them bring the little container the pot was in with them. My co-worker took the pot and sent them on their way. Then we debated what to do with it.
At first we thought about flushing it down the toilet. We're both liberal people, and legal issues aside, don't find a great deal of harm in marijuana. We looked out the window again and saw that one of the students was telling other students about the bust. We knew that if we didn't tell our principal rumors would get around that we had taken the pot for ourselves!
I was really worried about telling the principal. Even though I knew that it was incredibly stupid for the girls to be bringing pot to school, I felt really bad. Indeed, we did tell the principal and one of the girls got suspended.
I feel so guilty. I know that I had no choice. It could have meant my job if I hadn't told, and some would say that the girl was done a favor by my intervention. Still, I never really knew that I would have to be a narc when I decided to be a teacher. I knew that I would be in a position of authority, but I feel like I betrayed this student. I wonder if she will ever trust me again.
I think that what is so difficult about this decision is that I am a hypocrite. I don't really think that marijuana is a big deal, yet I had play Big Brother and turn the girl in.
Has anyone else ever been in a situation like this one? I wonder if I should call my student and explain that I am sorry about what happened (although she was foolish). If you believe firmly in the evil of marijuana, then this clearly would not be an issue. What about those (ex) hippies out there? What would you have done?
My take is that you don't play football on a tennis court, you play football. I don't think you could have done any differently. Feeling like a Narc is just fallout from the way the rules work, not your fault.
Yes, call her! At least that way you can be her friend (if she'll let you!) and let her tell you fully how she felt and feels and you can both talk about her future choices! That way the learning may be at partially salvaged.
I am upset and very concerned at the soft approaches out there to the bag of pot on campus. The world has changed since the gentle pot smoking time of the 60's - the drugs are BAD now - terrible things I see - kids 10 years old addicted, kids who run away to get drugs easier. Organized sales on campus, dealers with guns, not just a little pot like in the old days. We educators need to wake up and really help out here - not hide our heads in the sand. We need to get rid of the mentality that a little pot is not bad - it is - it is dealt, on campus, by the big time gangs in every community. They use our children to deal for them.
Marijuana on campus is no longer the bland peccadillo it once was. Please, let us help our kids out by removing these dangers from our campuses and putting in programs that work to help kids stay away from drugs. We need to act aggressively.
I am a teacher at the Clean and Sober High School, a last chance place for kids who have been addicts for years. Daily I deal with the chaos and destruction wrought by drugs in these students' families - I see children who have almost died from overdoses too young to understand what drugs are all about. Almost daily I have to report dirty urinalysis results to the judge that cause kids to be locked up for the week-end (hey - it keeps them safe and gives them rest and three meals a day) and when they return on Monday, they are SO GRATEFUL to me - they report that this is what helps to keep them away from the organized crime that is so easy to fall into, the ring of sex for drug supplies that so badly hurts our youth. The dealing that goes on in high school is dangerous stuff and the kids need our responsible help and support in getting through to the age at which they can responsibly choose to use substances judiciously.
Roxanne, I would start looking for a job that I did not have to apologize for. I am not an ex-hippie but I think the laws that restrict what we can do to or put in our own bodies are immoral. The anti-drug laws should be revoked and ignored whenever possible.
You owe the student an apology Roxanne. Tell her that you are never ever going to turn another student in again for using drugs. And you expect her to never squeal on any of her buddies either, because if she does she will feel as low-down and guilty as you do.
Dale R. Reed
In 1970 I student-taught in a public alternative high school in Ann Arbor, MI. One morning my supervising teacher held a breakfast for the students, for whom we cooked pancakes, etc. We also invited the principal. It was early fall and we had the window open to our third floor room. After a while, the unmistakable odor of burning weed wafted into the room. The principal smelled it, leaned out the window, and called down to the two "offenders". He proceeded to loudly, soundly, and in no uncertain terms, invite them up for breakfast! They accepted and came up, sans the pot! Problem solved!
I'm sorry your situation didn't work out as well for you and the students. Hindsight is always 20-20, but I think in this case I would have asked the students to come in and then delivered a pointed monologue on how you are sure that they know that bringing drugs into school is a major no-no and that, of course, you are sure that they themselves would never ever do such a thing, and that you, if you ever ever caught them with the stuff would have to do something drastic, if you know what I mean, wink wink!
I have nothing against marijuana except this: it is an illegal substance, and illegal substances don't belong in schools. You did the whole school a favor. It just stinks to have done that favor. Call the girl if you want; or tell her next time you see her that you are sorry but you have no choice but to act on illegal behaviors. My guess? She won't hold it against you.
I wanted to thank you all for your responses to my rant. I feel much better about the whole situation today. Many of the other students at my school heard about what happened, and they did not think that I did the wrong thing. They felt that the girl was stupid for bringing pot to school in the first place, and that I had an obligation to act as I did. One student said, "It's our job to try things we shouldn't and it's your job to stop us." They seemed to understand that personal feelings aside, marijuana is illegal. I also found out that the girl was kicked out of her previous school for the same offense. Knowing this, I feel like I did help her, even if she doesn't know it yet. She is a very "fast" little freshman, and this might slow her down a little. She needs time to grow up!
Thank you so much for your advice. I have not decided whether or not to call the girl. I think that I will wait until she comes back to school and talk to her then.