Wednesday, June 27, 2007

POT 2.0. fear,and long arms of schools

Taken from story by Marsha Rosenbaum Alternet - The long-awaited sequel to the notorious 1936 film, Reefer Madness has arrived. It's called The Purple Brain, and just like its unintentionally campy predecessor, its purpose is to frighten. And we, the millions of parents who may have, without incident, experimented with marijuana in the 1970s, are the target.

The plot is as follows: Sure, the pot you and your 40-something peers once enjoyed may have been innocuous, but that's only because it bears no resemblance to the super-potent weed of today -- strains with such foreboding names as "Train wreck," "AK-47," and "The Purple." As proclaimed by Drug Czar John Walters recently, "[W]e are no longer talking about the drug of the 1960s and 1970s -- this is [in computer parlance] Pot 2.0."

To top off this frightening message, unsubstantiated claims of "brain damage" resulting from the use of this super-pot are new buzzwords in today's Prevention circles. Yes, marijuana is an intoxicant that should be avoided until and unless an individual has reached an age of mental and physical maturity, and this might be well into his or her twenties.

But exaggerated campaigns like "The Purple Brain" do little more than create skepticism about anything adults say about drugs, not to mention fueling their natural curiosity.

And let's add to this fearmongering our puritanical, political attack on student rights - Supreme Court Rules Against Student in Bong Hits 4 Jesus Case -
In the first major Supreme Court decision on student free speech in almost a generation, the Court ruled against a student who was suspended for displaying a banner with drug-related messaging just off the school campus. What does the ruling mean for students punished for online activities that take place off-campus? Andy Carvin analyzes the verdict, observing that:
"a 'school sanctioned' website might in the future be ruled to be like 'being in school' and thus subject to school rules. Can student online activities from home be deemed “school-sanctioned”? The irony is that the answer might be yes - for those schools that decide to use social networking sites in the classroom. Many schools, of course, filter out social networks, deeming them uneducational and inappropriate for classroom access. For those students attending schools where social networks are filtered, they could probably argue in an ensuing legal case that their online activities, even if drug-related, can’t be considered school sanctioned, since the school refuses to condone social network access on campus. On the other hand, if a school allows access to certain social networks and a student hypothetically posted drug-related content on his or her personal online profile, the school might argue that using the social network is indeed school-sanctioned and thus open to disciplinary action, even if the content is posted off-campus."

So schools beware of over extending your boundaries - students be aware of your rights and prepare to respond to those who would attack free speech - and educators, respect students, teach them their rights, advise them when they step out of bounds and make sure everyone learns from these experiences rather than suffers from them.

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