Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pot at School

Twenty-four years ago this semester, I was taking Law 402 class. One day some Criminal Investigation Division types came in with some pot and an ashtray. They lit the marijuana in the ashtray and passed it around so each of us could take a whiff; this they called a "controlled burn", the purpose of which was to let us know what marijuana smelled like. This way, if we ever smelled that smell in our troops' barracks, by virtue of having smelled marijuana in this controlled environment we would have probable cause to search a room for pot.

Recently at school I was walking down a hallway near my classroom and that memory of 24 years ago assaulted me--how could it not? The stench of pot was so heavy that I worried about getting a contact high, and I wasn't even in Kokomo. A couple of boys told me it was even worse in one of the bathrooms.

Our email system was down, but an hour or so later it came up and I sent a message to the vice principals about the smell. Honestly, I didn't think there was anything they would or could do, but I felt compelled to notify them anyway. One vice principal picked up the ball and ran with it. Here's how.

See, in the past we have had expensive incidents of graffiti and other forms of vandalism at our school, especially in the bathrooms. A few years ago we put some security cameras around campus, and many of them allow a view of the entrances of the most-hit bathrooms. It turns out that one of those bathrooms was, coincidentally enough, the bathroom with the heavy pot smell. The vice principal in question watched the video from the appropriate camera and identified a couple of students whose behavior and/or time in the restroom was questionable. Though I'm not privy to what happened next, and something did happen next, somehow "reasonable suspicion", the legal standard used in California schools, was met and the two students were brought to the office. Both had marijuana in their backpacks.

Twenty-four years later, my controlled burn pays off.


Ellen K said...

Bravo. I have so many parents who claim they cannot smell the pot smoke on their own kids jackets when most of the rest of the class is getting a contact high. I would like to think they honestly didn't know what it smelled like. But in reality, they just don't want to know. I am glad those kids were caught. Of course, if, as pundits suspect, the Obama Administration proposed selling and taxing marijuana as a way to dig ourselves out of this economic slump, those kids will be laughing-and paying off the American debt.

Law and Order Teacher said...

From one who has made his share of busts, well done officer D. My second career is teaching, yours could be law enforcement.

MikeAT said...

Officer Darren

I hope you know by doing this act in the People’s Republic Of California, your oppressing the young will not be tolerated…you should expect to be brought up on charges, blamed for destroying their self esteem and all in all ruining their life!

Good work man!


sciencectn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sciencectn said...

Sorry, my comment got a little screwed up.

sciencectn said...

"...the Obama Administration proposed selling and taxing marijuana as a way to dig ourselves out of this economic slump"

From the BBC article:

"I don't know what this says about the online audience," Mr Obama joked, before arguing that legalising marijuana would not be an effective way to stimulate the economy.Ellen K, where do you get your news from?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Darren. don't be afraid to check the bathrooms at rio more. it happens ALL the time.

Ellen K said...

Here's another pot bust story.
My daughter was an RA at a dorm while at school. The dorm rooms featured the usual bottom grill doors for ventilation. One day, a resident knocked on her door and stage whispered "I smell pot." And indeed, thanks to the grills, the hallway smelled, as she put it, like a giant bong. So she called the building manager and the cops. In the meantime, the other residents smelled it and were in the hall whispering loudly about "There's pot...." Meanwhile, the girl using the pot who lived in the room next to my daughter, started shoving things around and spraying Lysol. So at this point, it was like a Menthol version of pot. The cops came and took the pot and paraphenalia, the girl was kicked out of the dorm, but was allowed to return to school as long as she got counseling. It seems that in some universities, drug use or alcohol use was only punished as a minor problem and only the worst repeated offenders were ever really turned over to the police. In a way, it almost seems funny. Oh, and here's the good part, her mom and dad were head honchos at a private Christian school in East Texas. Fun all around.

Darren said...

Oh, I made a mistake. I mistakenly deleted a comment instead of posting it. Hey, jerk who wrote the comment stating that those who bust pot smokers are probably Christian--please post again. I deleted your comment by mistake, but I beg you to share your wisdom again with us, your inferiors.