Pubdate: Thu, 03 Nov 2005
Source: Bennington Banner (VT)
Copyright: 2005 by MediaNews Group, Inc. and NENI Newspapers


Cheech Marin and Thomas Chong have been talking about doing a reunion 
film sometime in the very near future.

The question on all of our minds is: Will they film on location in 
the Cambridge School District?

In Wednesday's Banner, we ran a story with the headline "CCS is 
'higher' than rest of nation." That refers to an informal study 
conducted within the school system which found that Cambridge' 
students are using more drugs and alcohol than their counterparts at 
both the county and national levels.

Cambridge's seniors have increased their use of all substances, 
including alcohol, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, heroin, inhalants, 
marijuana and nitrites since 2003. In particular, marijuana use went 
up from 58.3 percent to 70 percent during a two year span.

While it may be a bit of hyperbole that Cheech and Chong would come 
to Washington County to do their next movie, the statement makes a 
point. Cambridge has got to get its drug problem under control.

There's no doubt that Police Chief George Bell is doing his part. He 
just made one of the largest crack busts the area has ever seen. But 
he, like all law enforcement, is fighting an uphill battle. 
Cambridge, on Route 22 in New York, is due north of all East Coast 
metropolitan areas. And if you think for a moment that Route 22 isn't 
a superhighway of drugs and other contraband from points north and 
south, then you should start the long journey back down to earth.

Grades 7-12 Principal Daniel Severson sees the problem and the 
decorated veteran, who has proved that he fears little, is willing to 
tackle the issue head on. For that, he earns our support.

The bunch who really needs to get behind this fight, though, is the 
parents. Sadly, according to the informal survey, parents aren't 
immune to the lure of a high from drugs and alcohol. The survey says 
that about 30 percent of students said they saw their parents using 
marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, inhalants 
and hallucinogens.

Also, about 41 percent of students who drink said their parents 
supplied it for them. That's a frightening statistic, especially when 
one considers the devastation a community must cope with when young 
people perish from alcohol and drug abuse.

The encouraging news for CCS is that younger students say they are 
taking more precautionary measures, and are staying away from drugs 
and alcohol. That may be attributed to a health teacher being moved 
to the lower grades.

Obviously, though, if the informal survey is correct, then there is 
plenty of room for education and improvement within the school system.

While having class valedictorians who get caught with a pound of weed 
may make for headlines, those are headlines we would just as soon not 
have in our paper.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman