Weed out the drugs

Chronicle Staff

The administration’s decisive expulsion of six middle school students who broke school drug use policies was the proper and necessary course of action. Any weaker punishment would have converted the school drug prohibitions into mere symbols.

A punishment like suspension would not be nearly harsh enough to match these students’ serious offenses, which violated not only school rules but United States law.

The school’s drug policies are clearly set out in the student handbook. Even if students have never cracked the cover of the handbook, the rules are easy to guess. Using, selling, or possessing drugs or alcohol on campus is prohibited, and breaking this rule may result in expulsion.

The administration not only has the right to expel students who break school drug use policies. It has a responsibility to do so in order to protect the sanctity of our campus. Keeping both campuses drug-free should be a top priority — especially at the Middle School, with students as young as 11. Our school should be a place where these students learn and grow, not exchange drugs.

No drugs were found on campus after several searches of backpacks and lockers, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said, and the administration never found evidence of drugs being used on campus. Still, the students were in possession of drugs on school grounds.

Once students bring drugs on campus, they hurt not only their own reputation but the reputation of the entire school and the student body. Our students should be known first and foremost as great thinkers, athletes and artists, not as drug users. In November 2006, one junior boy was expelled and two senior girls were suspended for a semester for violating drug rules. The more students who bring drugs on campus, the more damaged the school’s reputation becomes. The school’s expulsion of all six students is a strong step to prevent students from bringing drugs on campus in the future.

Still, the students involved are young, and people make mistakes. The school’s goal in disciplinary action should be not only to punish but also to help the students learn and grow. To that effect, all expelled students are entitled to reapply for admission to Harvard-Westlake next year, when they must tell the administration how they have learned and grown during their time away from the school.

By then, thanks to the administration’s decisive expulsions, the student body will recognize that our school drug policies are not a thing to be trifled with.