Educational Student Journalism

In my opinion, the best way to prevent drug use and abuse among our youth is increased education. I’m not talking about the McGruff television advertising campaigns, or the Mr. Mackey guidance counselors who go into classrooms saying “drugs are bad…mkay?” I mean real talk education and journalism done by the students themselves.



SaraRose Martin, an 18 year-old senior of Fauquier High School and co-editor of the school paper, had the same idea. She penned a story about the process and dangers related to “Dabbing.” Dabbing, involves smoking a distilled version of the active ingredients in marijuana off a nail, delivering a powerful high.



This process was already in practice among some of the youth she knew, and her idea was to educate them about the effects of their “recreational behavior” so that they would stop. Smart girl!



The principal of the school, in his infinite wisdom, pulled the article from the school paper saying that it was too “mature” for the paper. “In a letter to Martin, he wrote that he was concerned that students would “be exposed to a new and dangerous drug without adult guidance.” (The Washington Post 2015)



Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hazelwood decision in 1988, school administrators are able to preview student publications, and have full censorship authority. This authority, in my opinion, does not mean that they should prevent the distribution of knowledge.  The proper step in this case would have been to require that either the article be written so that the article read more as a public service announcement for educational purposes, or that she include interviews with health teachers and the school nurse to gain medical creditability, while reinforcing the school’s policies regarding drugs.



Personally, I have never used drugs. I received my education by observing my schoolmates, neighbors, and family members. I have seen what it does to the body and want no part of that for me. Being a scholarly type, I read the school paper, and would have enjoyed the banned article finding it educational.



At least, young Ms. Martin’s peace received some press online.



Let’s encourage our youth so that they will make informed life choices. Let us not fall into the pit of censorship out of fear. In the end, we are all educators, and our examples feed our future.



Here’s a taste of SaraRose’s article:



Dabs, also known as hash oil or Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is the most recent craze to dominate the drug subculture. To create dabs, marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, is extracted using butane to make wax concentrate, which is then “dabbed” onto a plate, known as a nail, that has been heated with a blowtorch. When the resulting vapor is inhaled, the user receives a direct hit of 70 to 90 percent THC, nearly three times the potency of smoking strong marijuana strains. The new drug phenomenon is known as dabbing.


Senior Tim O’Leary, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said that dabbing appeared in Fauquier County only a few years ago, and it’s gaining popularity. Dabs are small, easy to conceal and make, and produce no distinctive pot odor, which might lead to detection. The popular reference to smoking marijuana, 4:20, has been replaced by 7:10 (OIL upside down).