Pot smoking legal in New York schoolSchool principal Benjamin Sherman is being blamed for being ineffectual. According to a teacher with smell of pot permeates the bathrooms and halls. The teacher reported moving students to the auditorium when the smell became overwhelming in a classroom.
Pot smoking legal in New York schools soonAccording to a New York Post article, Sherman said there was nothing he could do about it as it would soon be legal. Sherman arrived at the school in 2017. Students agree cannabis smoking happens at the school. But they tend to think teachers are spearheading the controversy as they are unhappy with Sherman’s leadership. One sophomore said teachers were using the pot controversy to get what they want. They said the school was “being used for a union war”. Two girls smoking outside the school said Sherman was strict about anti-smoking at the school when he first arrived. But was now more chilled out about it.
Eliminating punishment for cannabis at schoolWhile cannabis is banned from all schools, the Department of Education (DOE) is treating cannabis use more lightly than it once did. It no longer encourages the suspension of student caught smoking a joint. The DOE has a new policy. While it still bans cannabis from all schools, safety officers and police can use discretion to give a warning card rather than issuing a summon to students 16 or older. However, a New York Police Department spokesperson said if safety officers or police caught students using or in possession of any illegal drugs, they would confiscate it. They would take action depending on the circumstances. This can include issuing a warning card, a summons or arresting those responsible.
Students agree the school has gone to potStudents agree with their teachers the school has gone to pot. In a New York Post article, a journalist talked to two students they caught smoking dope before class. They said smoking cannabis made it easy to get a higher education at the Queens school. One senior said they could not deal with the school straight. She talked about walking into the auditorium and seeing clouds of smoke reflected in the light with teachers sitting in there. She said she didn’t care and only wanted to graduate. Neither of the students smoked weed until they went to the school. They said that within a month of starting at Forest Hills they became dope smokers. While they said it originally affected how they learned, it no longer affects their learning.
Principal makes unpopular decisionsSince coming to Forest Hills, teachers blame the situation on some of Sherman’s decisions. In a cost savings effort, he removed bathroom monitors who signed students in and out. Once facilities were open at all times during the day it gave students the perfect place to smoke pot. He also had eight door alarms disabled as they continually sounded with the coming and going of students, and removed locker room attendants.
School reports increased smoking of dope, smoking, sex, fighting and theftThis has led to poor discipline, more dope smoking, fighting, theft and vandalism. Some students have felt intimidated into smoking pot. There have also been reports of sexual activity in the restrooms. Recently Sherman admitted his decisions were a mistake. He said it had made it easy for students to smoke and vape cannabis and to cut classes. The aides and sign-in system to restrooms has returned. But students still find places to get high in stairwells and hallways. Forest Hills teachers have no faith in Sherman’s leadership. They held a vote which resulted in a no confidence vote of 195 to 21. This has gone to the local schools’ DOE superintendent along with a list of concerns and demands. If the faculty do not have them addressed at this level, they threaten to take their concerns public to push the DOE to take action.
Excellence takes a nosedive to hit rock bottomWhen once Forest Hills received a National Blue Ribbon award for excellence, 19 years later it has nosedived to hit rock bottom. This is a popular school but overcrowded with more than 3800 students. The Queens school guarantees local kids a place. But the school has a number of well-respected programs that only admit those who are high achievers. Yet, despite all its woes, Forest Hills had a graduation rate of 91 percent in 2018. And 81 percent of students were ready to go to college. This is well above the New York school average.
Effective leaderA DOE spokesperson said Sherman is an effective leader of Forest Hills High School. He said these were serious complaints and are investigating them. The DOE wants to make sure the school is a good environment for both teachers and their students. One parent said they had moved their child to the school because of its reputation. But have pulled them out because of the discipline problem. They said it was all well and good instilling discipline while your child at home but it broke down during the school day.
NYC Mayor outraged over pot being smoke in schoolsMayor of New York City Bill de Blasio expressed his outraged saying it was unacceptable for kids to smoke weed at school. Cannabis is not legal and something needs to be done to fix the problems if this was happening in New York schools.
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