Marijuana use in New York City schools is becoming increasingly concerning, The New York Times reports. Students and teachers alike say more students are smoking marijuana, leading to classrooms being thrown into disarray and having a significant impact on educational environments.
Use the most powerful academic tools to write better with AI, check for plagiarism and detect AI content!
- Despite data indicating a decrease in teen cannabis use in 2021, disciplinary data from the city education department shows a 10% increase in alcohol- and drug-related offences in schools compared to 2019.
- Students and teachers describe a heightened prevalence of marijuana use throughout the day, with cannabis becoming increasingly accessible via unlicensed smoke shops, vape pens, and edible products.
- Officials, educators, and students are calling for increased efforts to combat the trend, pointing to the need for social workers, psychologists, and additional mental health support in schools, as well as stricter regulation of smoke shops.
Students and teachers reveal that the trend of using marijuana is escalating, with younger students smoking not only outside of school premises but also during the day and at school. The scene is becoming increasingly common around the Bronx Design and Construction Academy, where students, such as Justin, a 15-year-old freshman, can be found consuming marijuana multiple times a day.
As marijuana use infiltrates the educational environment, classrooms are reportedly descending into disarray with pupils showing up late and under the influence. Students are reportedly taking hits from vaping pens in class and bathrooms and stairwells are transforming into smoking lounges. The situation has left teachers feeling helpless.
The Impact on Education
The rise of marijuana use among students is not without consequences. America Billy, a teacher at a public high school in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, describes the difficulty of discerning whether a student’s lack of engagement stems from lack of sleep, family stress, or drugs. City Polytechnic High School’s former principal, April McKoy, has also expressed her concern about the increasing use of marijuana among students, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. Freshmen were reportedly selling cannabis to each other, and instances of students getting sick from contaminated edibles were reported.
The Role of Unlicensed Smoke Shops
Unlicensed smoke shops could be a driving force behind the rise in marijuana use among students. Officials and educators alike are becoming increasingly concerned about these establishments, which may number as many as 1,500 citywide, selling marijuana-infused products to underage customers. Although Mayor Eric Adams has vowed to crack down on these unlicensed smoke shops, enforcement has been limited so far.
Prevention and Support
In response to the growing problem, schools are offering a range of programs aimed at addressing and preventing substance abuse among students. However, these resources are limited, with only 280 specialists for the city’s 1,600 schools. Cannabis activist Esther Lelievre highlights the need for education, stating that many students who use cannabis initially started with vaping nicotine.
Meanwhile, journalism students from the Bronx Documentary Center have taken matters into their own hands, mapping the proximity of smoke shops to schools in their neighbourhood in an effort to raise awareness about the issue. Their initiative reflects a growing disappointment among students towards the adults responsible for their education and safety. As the situation persists, the call for action from authorities intensifies, with hopes of putting an end to this worrying trend.
The Lingering Shadows of Teenage Marijuana Use
Despite the growing normalization of marijuana use in some circles, it’s important to understand the potential long-term effects, especially for young, developing minds. Regular marijuana use during the teenage years can lead to various long-term consequences. Here are a few:
- Cognitive Impairment: Prolonged use can impact memory, learning, and attention, potentially leading to struggles in academics and future careers.
- Mental Health Issues: Marijuana use can increase the risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and in some cases, psychosis.
- Dependency and Addiction: Starting marijuana use in the teenage years increases the likelihood of developing a marijuana use disorder or other forms of substance addiction.
- Physical Health Risks: Regular marijuana smoking can lead to respiratory issues, similar to those caused by smoking tobacco.
Understanding these risks underscores the importance of continued efforts to educate young people about the potential downsides of marijuana use, particularly when started at an early age.
Follow us on Reddit for more insights and updates.