School officials have given another look to Amity's drug prevention / treatment programs following a November 7 incident in which a student lost consciousness after allegedly eating a saltine cracker with a peanut butter and marijuana mixture baked into it during lunch. (See original story below.)
Superintendent John Brady says a presentation to the Board of Education Monday night suggested to him Amity was well-equipped and making progress.
"Nobody at Amity High School is denying there are students who struggle with substance abuse issues," Brady told Patch. "Nobody's denying there's students here who have those problems. But we have a very well-staffed, very experienced array of services that we use to instruct in a preventative way with students and then respond when we see students who have gotten into trouble."
Brady says the school district is prepared, and so far successful, in dealing with drugs at school. Monday night's presentation to the Board of Education suggested about "one to two percent of students," he said -- and added that administrators believe the school has actually seen a decrease in drugs at Amity High School.
"Two or three years ago, when students were searched, we'd find something -- a pipe, a lighter, a cigarette -- and the rate at which [searches] would turn up some material was much higher than it is now. Now, when we have suspicion and we search, we're not finding anything. We believe there's less material and less substances in the school."
Brady says schools introduce mandatory-curriculum programs that deal with the physiological and psychological dangers of drugs in 7th grade, and that higher-level classes addressing drugs tend to have "well-subscribed" enrollment. The school has a "deep, experienced and capable staff" in psychology and outreach counseling, as well as a counselor who works specifically on substance abuse issues.
Brady says experts tell him "they've never seen a high school as well staffed with support staff to deal with students who are experiencing difficulties with substance abuse or have so many preventive programs in place."
Some parents and other residents don't think the district has gone far enough -- and say the problem has gotten out of hand.
"It's getting worse and worse and you've lost control," writes Sue Ellen on Bethwood Patch.
On Orange Patch, kathy asks, "What will it take for people to wake up? Perhaps this could have been avoided...perhaps next time it will result in a death. Very sad."
"Starting to save for private high school now for my kids," says commenter Stacy from Greensprays.
And Brad Marcus asks, "Does a child have to die there before they take this situation seriously?" (See below for more comments.)
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ORIGINAL: Tuesday, 4 p.m.
According to just-released reports, police say a saltine cracker with a peanut butter and marijuana mixture baked into it was responsible for a November 7 incident in which a student lost consciousness at Amity High School.
At about 12:45 p.m -- between the second and third lunch waves for high schoolers -- a student in the cafeteria passed out, becoming "unconscious and unresponsive," police say. According to reports, the cause was the pot-laced cracker, which the student had allegedly bought from another student.
Administration cleared the cafeteria and cancelled the third lunch shift, according to a dispatch from Amity High Principal Charles Britton. High school medical staff and first responders treated the student, who was taken to the hospital, according to reports.
Police said the student who had sold the cracker turned out to have more than one marijuana-laced cracker, and both students were arrested. They are scheduled to appear at New Haven Juvenile Court on November 19.
Students' names and identifying information are withheld due to their minor status.