Friday, November 7, 2008

Does Question 2 Change Anything For Schools?

While many people are trying to figure out the true legal implications of Question 2 outside of public schools, I think that the impact on public schools is minimal. Chapter 37H1/2 of Massachusetts General Laws still states :

"Any student who is found on school premises or at school-sponsored or school-related events, including athletic games, in possession of a dangerous weapon, including, but not limited to, a gun or a knife; or a controlled substance as defined in chapter ninety-four C, including, but not limited to, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, may be subject to expulsion from the school or school district by the principal. "

Here at BHS, we still have a handbook policy that calls for a 10-day suspension for possession of marijuana in school or at a school function and we also have the right to hold an expulsion hearing (as stated in Chapter 37H1/2 above). In addition, the long-term implications for a student can impact the college application process due to the fact that most school's ask on their applications if a student has ever been suspended. If the answer is yes, the student must submit information regarding the suspension.

For these reasons, I do not think that school administrators will have to make changes in the way that they handle students who use or possess of marijuana at school functions. I believe that the biggest challenge will be reinforcing our current policies and their ramifications with our students.


  1. We have confronted the fact that use is on the rise at our school and the rule change certainly will not help us decrease the usage. However, the students still know right from wrong, they know that marijuana is still an illegal substance and they all know that the school rules have not and will not change. Therefore we are not expecting any major changes in student behavior or their expectations.

    Dennis Mahoney
    Assistant Principal
    Littleton High School
    (BHS Grad Class of '94)

  2. Here are a couple of other comments from Massachusetts High School Administrators:

    It is my understanding that this will not impact 37 H. They can test the rule, but they will fail the test. Marijuana on school grounds is unacceptable. We have brought K-9’s in to randomly search students’ possessions twice already this year and we’ll do it at least two more times before next summer.

    For some children school is the only place that is not chaotic and I plan on keeping it that way. When I grew up, marijuana was called “dope”.

    2)I do not plan on changing anything in terms of consequences for possession/use.  Kids need to know that we still consider it a major offense at school or school functions.