Thursday, June 21, 2007

SSDP in the news, eh?

So, long story short: 15-year-old Kieran King of Wawota, Saskatchewan got in trouble for researching the harms of marijuana and sharing his findings that it is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco. The principal threatened to call the police if he talked about marijuana again. In response, he organized a walk-out protest for free speech, and the principal retaliated by suspending anyone who participated in the protest - namely, King and his brother. Tara Lyons, chair of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, gives the school a piece of her sensible mind:
"Mr. King was threatened with police action for voicing an opinion that is well established in fact and science: that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco," Lyons said.

"When he staged a walkout to defend his right to freedom of speech he was suspended, causing him to miss his final exams. Canadians ought to be outraged at the treatment this student has received for voicing an opinion."
The full article can be read here.

King, by the way, does not happen to be a marijuana user. I spoke to a girl around his age today, and she knocked my socks off by telling me she did a 23-page research paper on why marijuana should be legalized. Her peers falsely assumed that she had become a marijuana user simply because she'd decided to use her awesome brainpowers to take a sensible stance on the subject of legalization. Teachers and administrators should take pride in such self-motivated students, and people in general should realize that support isn't the same thing as participation or identity (not every gay rights activist is LGBT, not every pro-choice advocate has had an abortion or is even sexually active, not every feminist is female, and not every environmentalist is a polar bear -duh).


Jonathan Perri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Perri said...

From my experience in high school it seems that teachers feel that if they tell young people the truth about drugs, especially marijuana, that they are advocating the use of the drug. Whether they want to admit it or not they know that the harms associated w/ marijuana are less significant than those associated w/ pharmaceuticals, alcohol, or tobacco. How many high school or college students have to have their stomaches pumped, get into car accidents, or die from abusing alcohol each year? Yet there is this nonsensical cloud of bullshit reigning over our schools when it comes to providing accurate information about drugs for young people.

It is very sad that young people cannot do research on their own, speak their minds, and above all, TELL THE TRUTH, without being stereotyped by teachers afraid of sending the wrong message and students who have not taken the time to (a) do the research and (b) have been quite literally brainwashed with misinformation about marijuana.