Local area inner city students’ need to jumpstart the school day with recreational drugs is not exactly an unusual phenomenon, but the effect felt in the learning environment is self-evident. The hard-earned momentum for teachers is lost when students vociferously enter a classroom, with little or no regard and awareness for fellow classmates actually on task, quickly making the situation everyone’s problem.
Of course, it is troubling to learn that a number of students must resort to such measures to get through the day. How do these underprivileged young adults even afford illicit substances? Why do they bother to come to class in such a state? These, and other questions often cannot be easily answered. However, in a socio-economically depressed, urban educational setting plagued with so many of its own unique issues, getting high continues to detract from learning. Not unlike a demolition ball slamming into an intact building, it is hard not to notice the new chaos.
What can secondary level educators do with such disruptive students who clearly are in no shape to learn? There are choices. If the disorder is too unmanageable, i.e. posing danger to anyone, obviously there is no question that teachers seek the appropriate assistance from police resources on the premises. Most of the time, though, a student like this will be removed from class and escorted to simply a new milieu, cutting out the origin of occurrence of the problem, which probably stemmed from excessive academic demands, consequently magnified due to the student’s altered state of functioning. In the best scenario, though, at least from a teacher’s point of view, provided there is adequate additional teaching supports in the room – and surely this is not always the case – a ‘compromised’ student still receives instruction and respect, one micro step at a time, to accommodate his poor, misguided choice for that day. Unfortunately, his fate beyond these concessions may be a lot less auspicious!