New York City classrooms are in disarray as a growing number of students have been showing up late and high on marijuana, two dozen teachers and students told The New York Times.
More students are using marijuana and at younger ages than in recent years, and they’re increasingly smoking throughout the day and at school, according to the NYT. The growth of unlicensed smoke shops, often in close proximity to schools, as well as the growing popularity of vape pens and edibles has made marijuana more accessible than ever to students.
“It really feels like this unstoppable tide that we’re futilely trying to suppress,” America Billy, a Brooklyn public high school teacher, told the NYT.
New York State legalized marijuana in 2021, and the city has as many as 1,500 unlicensed smoke shops, according to the NYT. Children are selling each other marijuana from their freshman year of high school, and one teacher witnessed smoke shops selling to children as young as 14 and described school bathrooms and stairwells becoming flooded with the smell of marijuana.
“It felt like more and more were using without knowing the source, impact or consequences of early marijuana use,” April McKoy, former principal of a Brooklyn high school, told the outlet. She said that after the pandemic students were “sad, isolated and trying to find ways to cope.”
“I hope that adults realize they’re not doing their job,” a Catholic school student in the Bronx told the NYT. “A teenager should not be worried about their friends using drugs.”
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