by Graham Weinschenk, a graduating Senior – and rising star – at Arlington County’s Yorktown High School.
Editor’s update: In chatting with Graham, he adds that this problem is NOT specific to Arlington, but that he’s “had friends from Young Dems all over the country text me and tell me how much they agree with the post.”
As some of you may have heard, APS and ACPD will begin patrolling the high schools with drug-sniffing dogs. This is in response to the increased use of drugs (particularly xanax and adderall) and alcohol among the APS student body, and APS claims that these sweeps are necessary in order to address and correct the increase of drug use.
In my opinion, I don’t think law enforcement and education should be mixed at all except for the direct protection of the school. But setting that point aside for the moment, let’s talk about what APS wants to do and whether it will be effective. Short answer: No, it won’t be effective. ACPD will catch one idiot kid who brought some pot to school. They aren’t going to correct the drug problem with after school locker searches. Now, before all the parents go “Yay!!! This kid is advocating for searches during school!!!”, I’m not, and let me continue.
If APS *REALLY* wants to correct the drug problem, they need to go to the source. Why do students smoke pot or use xanax or adderall? I’ll give you a hint: it isn’t because they think that drugs have positive benefits, and it isn’t because they’re being peer-pressured into it (for the most part).
It’s because attending an Arlington high school is so. Freaking. Stressful. APS shoves AP courses on students like they’re nothing. The course load and work load for students is absolutely absurd. The load is so much that kids turn to drugs because they can’t possibly de-stress otherwise. School is still in the back of their minds with every other activity.
To be clear, I 100% do *NOT* condone drug use to deal with stress. Drugs are not an appropriate coping method, but my point is that the stress level shouldn’t be so high that kids feel that they HAVE to turn to drugs. So, if APS really wants to tackle the drug problem, they need to tackle student stress. De-stress students and the drug use will decrease. Just my theory….