High School Drug Use and Euphoria: Part Three

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 15, 2022 | 0 Comments

Drug use is a huge component of HBO's Euphoria and its many character arcs. The main character, and part-time narrator, Rue, played by Zendaya, is a drug addict struggling with staying clean. In the first episode, she is released from rehab and confesses she has no intention of staying sober. Within a few hours of being home, she's visiting her drug dealer and getting high. Much of the drug use takes place off school grounds, but some of it is done on campus. But can the school punish her for it? If they caught her or became aware of the situation?

How Far Does the School's Reach Go?

Despite the many anti-drug programs students undergo while in school, many students across the country still use a wide array of drugs before graduating. This recreational use of drugs is done both on and off-campus, and while you might think that schools can only punish students for taking drugs while on campus, you would be wrong. For instance, in New Jersey, the school board has declared that students can be disciplined for off-campus behavior, including drug use, if disciplining them is (1) reasonably necessary for their safety, security, and well-being, or for the safety, security, and well-being of other students, staff, or school grounds, and (2) the conduct materially and substantially interferes with the operation of the school.

If Rue's school were to become aware of her drug use, or the drug use of the other students, and it interfered with the operation of the school or the safety of the students, they would be able to discipline them, even if the conduct did not happen on campus.

What Are the Potential Consequences of High School Student Misconduct?

On the one hand, an argument can be made that a school addressing a student's drug use, even if off done off-campus, serves the noble goal of trying to get a young person on a better path, and it would be hard to disagree.  On the other hand, a school's imposition of disciplinary action, including the sanctions that result, are often not motivated by anything altruistic, or with the student's best interests in mind.  Unfortunately, many schools and school officials are motivated by self-serving interests, such as trying to minimize potential liabilities on a school's part, and do not reflect upon how a suspension, expulsion, or being sent to an alternative school can affect a student, whether struggling or high-achieving in other aspects of their life, both in the short and long-term.  

When a constructive resolution can be achieved that takes into account the student's possible struggles and the school's obligations, that will allow for the best path forward for all involved.  A student who makes a poor decision, whether involving drug use or other misconduct, should not be saddled with burdens that can literally impact the rest of the student's life.  Even academically high-achieving students can run afoul of school rules, and if the matter is not constructively resolved with professional help, any student subject to disciplinary action can have various doors closed to them moving forward - whether that means being ineligible to play sports, participate in other extracurricular activities, take advanced placement classes, and so forth. 

Doors Can Close For High School Students Accused of Misconduct

Even arguable smaller consequences can lead to long-lasting harm - a student athlete being ineligible to play one game or one season can have serious consequences, a straight "A" student needing to take AP math to have a better chance of being accepted into an Ivy League college, a student who is looking to join the workforce after high school and needs to have a clean disciplinary record - all of these goals can be seriously derailed because of a poor decision or mistake on the student's part, and as importantly, how the issue is resolved through the school's disciplinary process.

The potential fallout is limitless when students are accused of misconduct unfortunately, and many students and parents may not recognize this until it may be too late - a student trying to get a sports scholarship to college, a student trying to get into a highly-competitive college based on their academics, or a student who is trying to serve their country in the military can find these doors and many others closed simply because their disciplinary case was resolved in an unfavorable manner rather than a constructive manner that allows a path forward with reasonable accountability as appropriate to the circumstances.

How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are extremely experienced in the world of high school disciplinary actions, having worked with hundreds of students across the country accused of similar issues. They work hard to create a strategic defense, gather evidence, and question witnesses on your behalf, guaranteeing you the best possible outcome for your case. Attorney Lento understands how complicated these issues can be and will stop at nothing to make certain that a school acts reasonably in its authority to punish a student for such actions. You should not have to suffer through unnecessary, long-lasting consequences that punishments like suspension or expulsion may cause, especially when a more constructive resolution can be achieved. For example, did you know that suspension and expulsion are notated on your final transcripts? This means that you will have to explain the issue on every future college or graduate school application to come. You need an strong and effective defense. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation today.

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