Assembly Attempted to Tackle Recent Increase in Drug and Alcohol Suspensions: Results Mixed

Kayla Sullivan

Editorial by Kayla Sullivan
Hopkinton High School’s recent drug and alcohol assembly that took place on Thursday, February 10th, is a controversial subject within the school community.  The controversy stems mostly from the question and answer period at the end of the assembly; many who witnessed the event would agree that a photo of the word “legalize” written on a girls’ bathroom mirror tweeted shortly after the assembly pretty much sums it up.

Towards the end of the assembly, HHS Principal Geary gave students the opportunity to ask questions.  After students posed the questions “What is triple C?” and “Can the dogs smell cigarettes?” it was obvious the conversation was not going to be taken seriously by the students.  I’m not sure what the administration had in mind for this discussion, but I definitely don’t think they anticipated this.  Things went downhill quickly after a student asked what proof there was that marijuana is more harmful than tobacco.  To some students and faculty, it was clear that the student was not really asking the question just for the purpose of receiving an answer; instead, it appeared that he was looking for some type of engagement with Middlesex District Attorney Mr. Leone.

After several exchanges between Mr. Leone and the student who posed the question, Mr. Leone asked, “Are you saying we should legalize marijuana?” and one second later, a sizable portion of the student body erupted into cheer.  Ms. Geary ended the assembly almost immediately after this, and a staff meeting was called after school to allow the staff to discuss the assembly.

This student reaction to the assembly shows that HHS has more of a serious situation on their hands than the school originally thought.  Ms. Geary did threaten random dog searches to find drugs in students’ lockers, but will that be enough?  If not, what should be the next step?  More assemblies, advisory discussions, and further drug and alcohol education are all additional options; however, none of these have been successful so far.  Whichever way the school decides to handle this situation, it is clear that they will have to take a decisive approach to actually reduce the increasing number of drug and alcohol related suspensions occurring at HHS.