Police drug arrests at Montgomery County public scholls have persuaded many students to do their marijuana smoking away from school grounds but have failed to halt use of the drug, student government leaders told county School Supt. Charles M. Bernardo yesterday.
"People are going to other places to get high, whether it be somebody's back yard or blocks away from the school," a student government leaders told county School Supt. Charles M. Bernardo uesterday.
Police continued their two-week long drug crackdown yesterday, arresting 10 youths who were in parked cars on side streets near Robert E. Peary Hight School in Rockville. All were juveniles and students at the school except Cheryl Lynn Johnson 18, of Rockville. All 10 were booked on charges of possession of marijuana. One, a 17-year-old, also was charged with distributing marijuana.
The latest arrests brought the total number to 102.
Bernardo said he called the meeting with 50 student government presidents or their representatives because he wanted to clarify the school position on the drug arrests and to ask their support in exerting "peer pressure" on other students to make them stop using marijuana.
Three students told Bernardo it was "unrealistic" to expect them to put pressure on students who use marijuana. "Standing on a moral soapbox handing out judgements is not going to do any good," said Harris Leviton of Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville.
"The credibility of SGA (the Student Government Association) would go down the drain," Leviton said. "When not all students use drugs, a large percentage of students use drugs "might be unrealistic" and could be a "heavy burden" for student leaders.
"I could be that I expect too much of you," Bernardo told the group. "But you're the logical student group to reach out to. I want to get your perspedtive and understand it. Even if I learn that I'm being unrealistic, that's an important accomplishment."
Bernardo's request that student leaders asks other students ot stop using drugs was one point of his recently announced plan to curb marijuana use by students. His plan includes giving students education on drug use earlier, when they are in elementary school, officials the names of students who are arrested off school grounds, even though the arrests occur during the school day.
Bernardo called police refusal to divulge names when students are arrested off school grounds "the key procedural difficulty in managing this effort." He said he would meet soon with police to "iron out" the problem.
Principals have said that they want divulging the names of juveniles who are arrested because "it does no good to arrest students if we can't help them," according to assistant superintendent Florence McKenzie.
But Police are prevented by law from divulging the names of juveniles who are arrested.