By Aria Beizei
La Cañada. The Bubble. The place where everyone thinks everything is perfect. La Cañada is a very affluent society, and our high school is one of the best in California. Unfortunately, the reality is that, while La Cañada is a very blessed community, underneath the affluence and achievement lie deep problems.
The problem that plagues our school is neither shocking nor unheard of. It is common knowledge that many students at LCHS use marijuana and alcohol. Yet this is forced into the darkness because many people aren't ready to come to terms with the problem. While the issue itself is rather severe, the true severity of the situation is derived from the denial of its existence.
Brushing it off by just saying 'kids will be kids' or turning a blind eye does not solve anything. By refusing to accept the skeletons we have in our closet and openly discuss them, we are justifying the act of using marijuana and alcohol to kids. Because the legitimate and lasting consequences are not seen, kids justify the use of those drugs, thinking that they are invincible and parents will come to the rescue. By not talking about the marijuana and alcohol usage by LCHS students, the problem will only boil up and become much bigger than it has to be.
One senior voiced his opinion that there are many students at LCHS who “either do or sell drugs. Many teachers know of the wide scale use, but don’t do anything because they feel the administration should take care of it.”
He continued, “However, I do not not worry too much about the problem because I don’t see this being a long lasting issue. This is just a phase many kids will grow out of, hopefully soon, but definitely by adulthood.”
Things may be changing, though.
Dr. Gold said that, "We are looking at finding different strategies to minimize kids bringing any illegal things on campus [hopefully by] the end of the year."
It looks like things are beginning to look better, slowly but surely. Although the issue may still go largely undiscussed, working more on prevention is a great place to start.
Dr. Gold also discussed a new issue hitting our school: vaping.
"When it comes to drug related issues, the biggest one is vaping," expressed Dr. Gold. Many people “smoke” by using vape pens, citing their belief that they are less damaging to the lungs because vapor is produced, as opposed to smoke. While it is too early to determine whether that statement is accurate or not, the use of vape pens is still a serious issue at LCHS, especially with the new vape shop in La Cañada. The ease of use associated with vape pens is what makes it so popular for students to use on campus during school. While there is no easy solution for preventing the use of marijuana or vape pens, admitting that there is a problem will be a step in the right direction.
It may seem that the administration is doing very little to solve the issue out of fear that our reputation, both as a school and community, will be tainted in some way. The community doesn't want to acknowledge it because in the high pressure environment of La Cañada, the only things that are allowed to be high are the grades and extra curriculars. While La Cañada is and will always be an amazing community, a great disservice is being done by and to the parents who live in denial, to the students who fail to see the implications of their actions, and to the school for hiding issues to maintain the prestige.
The problems of substance abuse are still rampant and will remain unsolved unless a significant change is made. While the solution will certainly come with hardship, anything that is done, even as minute as beginning to discuss the substance abuse on campus, will be an improvement to the current system.
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