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SHS drug policy and helpful resources to quit drug use

The SHS Counseling Office. Solons guidance counselors can provide resources for anyone struggling with drug use.
The SHS Counseling Office. Solon’s guidance counselors can provide resources for anyone struggling with drug use.

You walk into the bathroom on a random Monday morning and see a few other students joining each other in stalls. You already know what they’re up to. What could be so satisfying about inhaling flavored air or getting high off marijuana on the day of a test? Why do they insist on doing it every morning? With the curiosity of it all, wondering what it tastes like, questioning if it really has these negative effects, students have been more inclined to try these substances.

“Vaping is the #1 offense that we have seen in regards to the violation of our drug policy,” said SHS’s Assistant Principal Joshua Frazier. “It is also seen 50/50 with students with tobacco and marijuana/THC.”

When students are caught using, possessing or are called in from an anonymous tip for these drugs, there is a process put in place to address and speak to those individuals.

“If we got a teacher saying ‘Hey this student smells like marijuana, is acting odd’ ‘ or if our security sees three kids in one stall in a bathroom and can smell a vape, they [the student] come down,’” said SHS Principal Erin Short. “We always search the person and the bag, and it is always a two man search.

“So two administrators come in, one of us searches the bag and then the other searches the person with a metal detector wand that we use to see if they have anything on them. We would also search their locker if they have one.”

Because these substances were reported on campus, administrators have the right to search the school’s property. Meaning, anything on school property that is either against school policy or illegal to have in general allows administrators to search, confiscate and punish those who defy these rules.

“We can always search lockers because it is school property, so we can just search randomly,” said Short. “We would also check a car if you drive to school, but we need to have reasonable suspicion. If you are in possession of a vape and we find it, and we go to your car and there are five more vapes, the consequence is the same, it’s not like it goes up based on the amount of drugs that you have.”

If the students are caught with a drug or other substance, a suspension must be carried out.

“Let’s say that a student has a vape on them,” said Short. “They get a drug test, the results come back clean…clean meaning there were no illegal substances, it truly being just nicotine in that vape, then that ten day suspension actually gets reduced to five days– but if the student agrees to do a tobacco use class that is online, then it gets reduced to three days, and it is treated instead as a tobacco offense [instead of marijuana offense].”

According to Short, another issue that is seen throughout SHS is the dealing and distributing of drugs or other illegal substances.

“If they are caught dealing or supplying drugs to somebody else in school, then it jumps to being treated as a second offense which is ten days out of school suspension and a recommendation of expulsion [there is no reduction],” said Short.

Drug dogs are also brought into the school to do random searches around different parts of the school and the parking lots surrounding it. These canines are typically brought in once in the first semester and once in the second semester.

“Those canine units come in completely unannounced [for both admin and students],” Short said. “Each administrator goes with a handler and a canine officer in the building, and we could just go and do random searches in the science hallway while someone else does random searches in another part of the building.

“We send the students out [of the classroom] because we don’t want any interaction between the kids and the canines. The canines go in and smell the bags in the classrooms. While that is simultaneously happening, the other dogs and their handlers are in the parking lot searching every car. We wouldn’t go into a car unless two dogs hit on a car.”

SHS Student Assistant Facilitator Jodi Lurie believes that students don’t understand the real danger and severity of using vapes and other dab pens.

“I don’t believe that everyone understands their risks,” said Lurie. “So they feel like it is no big deal, [they think] it’s natural [THC/Marijuana found in some pens], and it has a common effect.

“I’ve had students come to me saying that their doctors prescribed them medicine, and those medications are bad, but mine is natural so it is good,” said Lurie. “But the truth is, it’s not monitored like that, and you’re really just avoiding the real stuff that [they] need to get through.”

These dangers don’t just affect students’ lives, but it can also affect the administrators as well.

“We have to wear gloves every time we search, and the police get very angry if we don’t, because if there is fentanyl in anything and we don’t know, I could die,” Short said.“We have to protect ourselves when we are searching. Kids don’t know, parents don’t know, we don’t know what’s in those vapes.”

Young adults have many unreasonable excuses, which seem justified in their eyes, to lean towards the use of substances, whether it is to relax or to fit in with a crowd.

According to Frazier, teenagers are known to be “followers by nature, and we all have succumbed to peer pressure.”

These carts provide activity options to students in the SHS Wellness Center.

SHS Assistant Principal Carla Rodenbucher said students are stressed and overwhelmed with…well, being students and teenagers in general.

“I think a lot of students use it as a coping strategy, to cope with anxiety or stress,” said Rodenbucher. “They think that it’s one of those quick fixes, but in the long term it doesn’t serve its purpose because[they] need lifestyle changes.”

Students may not have the resources or even an idea of how to get out of using these drugs. What they don’t realize is that they have resources right in front of their eyes, but they just don’t see it.

“At any time someone can come to anyone on our team here at SHS, everyone has a guidance counselor, Ms. Ritma and I are both here,” said Lurie. “We can sit and help you communicate it, they are not going to be in trouble for self reporting as long as they don’t have anything on them in this building.”

Lurie and other counselors are able to provide outside resources for students if they believe those tools are more beneficial.

Some of these sources include NewDirections which “is an agency in Pepper Pike where they specifically deal with adolescent drug and alcohol,” said Lurie.

SHS also provides a Cafeteria Mindfulness Room for students to get away from the Lunch Room’s hectic environment.

Another is called Changes which is a “mental health [surrounded facility] but they also have a group called dual diagnosis that deals with the drug/alcohol and mental health,” said Lurie.

Students can find more resources using the Solon Schools Page and finding the counselor tab on the right hand side of the page after clicking on SHS for their chosen school.

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