A story recently reported by Reuters will not make reassuring reading for many parents anxious about ensuring that their children avoid ever requiring the services of addiction counselors in Miami. The news agency stated that three third graders had been caught smoking marijuana in the bathroom of a Californian elementary school. The one nine year old and two eight year old boys were discovered by another student, with administrators at the Sonora school being immediately informed.
In addition to questioning the students, officers seized a pipe and a very small quantity of marijuana – albeit, more than enough to be a source of worry for many parents who may not have otherwise realized just how early their offspring could find themselves in need of addiction counselors in Miami. Although the story is a Californian one, the concerns felt by many local parents and school administrators will be felt just as keenly across the country, not least given the softening legal stance on such substances in many US states.
With California being one of the 20 US states permitting marijuana’s use for medical purposes, concerns are rising that teenagers are increasingly believing from such acceptance that the drug mustn’t be harmful. That is certainly the view of Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who said to the New York Times: “The greater the number of kids that perceive marijuana as risky, the less that smoke it.” Indeed, a federal report shows a gradual rise Forex in the percentage of American high school students smoking marijuana.
Even Sonora police chief Mark Stinson claimed the youngest person that he had previously known to be busted for smoking weed was around 10 years old. He said that the boys that were caught in the latest incident did not appear to have much smoking experience, and that they did not seem to be under the influence when confronted. He added: “The first step is – we have to determine whether they knew right from wrong.” Although it is unusual for anyone under 12 years old to be charged with a crime under Californian law, there could still be the prospect of juvenile justice proceedings.
Although there was no comment from Sonora Elementary School Principal Chris Boyles, superintendent Leigh Shampain was more vocal, confirming to CBS that the students were smoking marijuana. Meanwhile, parent Linda Rodriguez told KTXL-TV: “(I’m) shocked. To be in third grade and have their own pipe. I think they should be expelled, but I also think they should follow it further to where they found (the drugs).”
The Tuolumne County Probation Department is now dealing with the case. Nonetheless, it is a development that will be a source of shock for some time for many parents fearing that their children may one day require the assistance of addiction counselors in Miami. Much more importantly, it serves as a reminder of the continuing need to educate their children on drug risks increasingly early in life.