Grants Pass, Ore.- Concerns over drug use at Josephine County schools has left local school leaders frustrated and saying that access to pot products is making it hard to keep kids drug free.
One school in Josephine County is working to pro-actively change that- Grants Pass High School.
“If you’re going to engage in that kind of behavior it’s not going to happen on this campus,” Grants Pass Principal Ryan Thompson says.
Thompson says that marijuana won’t be tolerated, and that’s the policy of Grants Pass High School as well. He says that the message is necessary after an increase in disciplinary referrals for pot countywide.
After the passing of Measure 91 legalizing marijuana in Oregon back in 2014, marijuana incidents on the GPHS campus spiked.
“The first year it was pretty flat but the second year we saw between 25 and 30% more marijuana incidents,” Principal Thompson explains.
To combat the issue, Grants Pass High School reached out to other areas for help that had experience in the marijuana realm.
Thompson says, “At the time our Campus Resource Officer reached out to some colleagues in Colorado to kind of get some insights from them as to what they were experiencing in Colorado with the legalization of marijuana.”
GPHS staff also decided to take action among themselves, brainstorming different ways to be more prevention minded.
Grants Pass High School now has three staff members, their Dean of Students and two of their counselors, who are training to become Prevention Specialists.
Principal Thompson explains the responsibilities of the Prevention Specialists,”When I say prevention specialists yes marijuana. But it’s any kind of activity that you want to try and curb.”
The Prevention Specialists training comes through a grant to Josephine County. The training for the three Prevention Specialists is currently underway.
Meanwhile, things at Grants Pass High School are looking up. So far this year Principal Ryan Thompson says they’ve seen the number of marijuana incidents go down. And Principal Johnson has faith in his students.
“Most students are not drugs users. Most students wouldn’t get in the car of someone who has been drinking and driving. Most students wouldn’t drink. Most students wouldn’t use marijuana.”
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