By Izzie Alley
It’s safe to say that within every high school, problems with drugs and alcohol exist. Teenagers, by nature, are curious and more likely to cave into the social pressures from their peers. High school is also a time where kids are discovering themselves, and many Briarcliff High School students would say drugs are just part of their experience here. Everyone at Briarcliff seems to have an opinion. Teachers and parents in this community seem to be more worried than the students, as they try to do their best to convey positive messages about using drugs or drinking alcohol. Mr. Kaishian is one of those people, trying to put out a positive message to our students. As he puts it, there is a drug and alcohol problem among districts like ours for many reasons. Briarcliff is a fairly affluent community, where many students can afford these kinds of behaviors. In addition, stress is more than abundant in our school, and as a release, students often make the bad decision of using drugs, not realizing how dangerous the outcomes can be.
Mr. Kaishan sees the drug problem as more of an out of school activity that can then have an affect on the way a student performs within school. Although the faculty is aware that students may be bringing drugs to school, they have not seen many students showing up under the influence. They are more concerned that a student’s “weekend activities” may affect their schoolwork or overall personality. The school, being the center community in Briarcliff, is often where transactions of drugs can happen or be discussed. As many students are aware, this is not a good idea, and a number of students have been caught in the past. Junior Jesse Linder comments on the kids who have gotten caught: “I think there is always going to be someone stupid, doing something stupid, ruining something for someone else.”
Kaishian notes that this past year has been a bit more rough than most in the drug and alcohol aspect but not the worse he’s ever seen. On the contrary, he states that this year’s high school community seems much better, attributing the seniors for their positive attitude and great example for the rest of the school. In addition, the staff is taking a more serious approach to helping students and understanding where they are coming from. We must keep in mind though that this is a small population of Briarcliff students engaging in this activity. As he sees it, the majority of the student body is looking for a fun activity to do on any given night that doesn’t have to do with drinking or doing drugs. Most importantly, we want to keep Briarcliff a safe place, like it always has been. It’s clear not all students find drugs “cool.” “Drugs are just stupid. They hinder one’s ability to perform everyday activities to their upmost ability. “Not to mention they’re a waste of money … People can have fun without doing drugs,” says Drew Shapiro, a sure advocate against drug use. Another student notes that she sees why someone may use drugs or alcohol to forget about their problems and “drink the pain away.” She also says that selling drugs, although not safe or legal, can be an effective way to earn money if you are not as rich as the typical Westchester kid. Don’t be fooled: the path of drugs is not one you want to follow, as local police, aiding BHS, are cracking down on arrests.
If you are already involved, don’t be afraid to seek help; it’s actually the best thing you can do. Of course there will be problems with drugs in high school, but it’s important for everyone to be aware of the ramifications of becoming involved and how dangerous it is. So help us clean up the halls of BHS to make out school community safer. Students having trouble with drugs can see Student Assistance Counselor Ms. Kersh, Mrs. Blank or another trusted adult.