I think one of my students was "high" today at her lesson

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Oh, how I hope I'm wrong.....I think my student I had today was on something. She was acting really funny, and when I asked her if she was ok, she just kept saying that she was tired. I guess I should clarify that this girl is 16 years old. So I believe its very possible, even though I didn't suspect her of being on anything before. I don't think I'm going to say anything to her mother just yet. I will document it and if it happens again, I'll probably mention it to mom. Do you all think this is the right thing to do??? I've never had this problem with any students before and she really does seem like a nice, decent girl, but you never know, right?

-- C Purtell (cpurtell@musiceducator.org), July 02, 2002


Well, it doesn't hurt to document it. You should describe the behavior and anything unusual that she says.

Could it be that something emotional happened to her and she was confused or anxious? Teens and hormones along with who knows what else can do strange things.

You might just broach it generally with her mother. "Mrs. Doe, I just wanted to check and see if Susie is OK. She seemed a little off today -- not her usual self." The mother will probably ask more questions and that opens the door for you to describe her behavior without necessarily implying drugs. Answer the questions honestly, but as you don't know whether or not she was high, don't make any conclusions.

Do you know the signs well enough? You might ask a doctor or drug counselor if you don't. That way you can keep your eyes open in the future.

-- Arlene Steffen (asteffen@fresno.edu), July 02, 2002.

Next time you suspect it, try any of the following:

Look into her eyes. Are they red and/or glassy? Does she avoid direct eye contact (marijuana can make some a bit "paranoid").

Try to "get a whiff" as you lean in while demonstrating a passage (etc.). Of course it helps if you know WHAT pot smells like! Do you smell an "obvious" odor cover-up? (mouthwash, mints, etc., are often used to hide the smell). Does she have a dry mouth ("cotton- mouth")?

I knew many kids who STARTED smoking pot at age 12-13; essentially once you are in high school you have ample access to it.

I agree w/ Arlene; document everything but be very careful about how and when/if you address your concerns.

-- John Bisceglia (bisceglia2000@yahoo.com), July 03, 2002.

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