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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Kick 'em when they're down

I see that the O is really going to rub Lincoln High School's nose in the drug thing. With Super Vicki busy selecting a moving company, a school board election on, and the school bureaucracy suddenly rudderless, the O will probably go on about it for weeks.

Drugs in our schools is a worthy topic, to be sure, but today's spin -- Lincoln kids are into harder drugs because they have money and are smart -- sounds like a humongous crock to me. Oh, and the reporters can't wait to get some kid at Grant to chime in: "'I'm sure there are drugs at every school, but Lincoln, they can afford the harder ones,' said Libby Watkins, a Grant High junior. 'They're really known as partyers.'"

Sheesh. Don't leave room in the trophy case for another Pulitzer out of that one. And it took six people to write it.

If this horrible incident had gone down at Jefferson, you'd never hear this outcry from our beloved daily. And if you did, you can bet someone would jump right up and say the "r" word. It's a lot easier to pick on Lincoln. And so, it appears, they will.

Comments (22)

Jack Lincoln kids are into harder drugs because they have money and are smart
jk Do you suppose there is a lesson here (smart ....)?
BTW, does anyone still believe that pot turns people into crazed killers? (Ala reefer madness)


Yeah, they may be smart in school stuff, but if they're into coke, deadly dumb in more important matters. But try talking them out of it...

once again the O proves that no news is good news.

You may have a fair point about the O taking the easy way by targeting the school with more money---aka lazy reporting.

But a "humongous crock?" No offense, but that sounds like a comment from someone who hasn't gone to high school in a really long time and shows why, lazy reporting or not, it was a story that may do some good.

There may be a stereotype involved to a certain point. But you ask any kid in any city in America and they will tell you the same thing as that article quotes some kids as saying--that harder drugs are more common at the more affluent schools. And usually, the more affluent the parents, the more clueless they are.

I went to McMinnville High from 1996-2000. It was the best McMinnville, OR could do for you, but it wasn't exactly Catlin Gable.

Still, I seem to remember just about anything and everything being widely available to anyone with the inclination to ask the right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) people. Meth was (and as far as I can tell remains) the most popular of the harder drugs, but ecstacy and cocaine was there if you could pay for it.

Now booze, that could actually be a pain in the ass. You had to know a bonafide 21 year-old, or be willing to hang out outside AM/PM asking people for hours at night.

Sorry Jack but you're firmly off the mark. As a grad of the PPS school system in '05 I can say that kids snorting lines between classes is as "Lincoln" as BMW's and class segregation. The only thing the Oregonian screwed up here is the fact that everyone under the age of 25 already knows what they're saying. The content may be shocking to the people old enough not to have experienced the drug use, but from everyone else I expect a resounding "Well, duh."

The kids at Lincoln were known for their wealth. They did buy more drugs, they did party harder. If I was going to pick one school to do a drug report about it would be the one with the biggest problem. Where has the Oregonian's reporting gone awry?

I thought drugs were illegal to protect the children.
How stupid of me.
The Nickle

The O briefly touched on, then passed by, the real story: "Lincoln ranks near last among Portland Public Schools in the number of drug-related expulsions."

This is what's at the heart of Frink's letter, and the core of the problem at Lincoln: Wealth buys freedom from consequences.

Even Alex DiFranco will serve his year in the slammer AFTER graduating from Lincoln. Had this happened to a Jefferson student, he'd be expelled and in juvie right now, finishing his GED behind bars and waiting for his transfer to adult prison. But at Lincoln, parents get the best legal representation money can buy, and the system plays along.

Can you imagine the outcry if word got out that Madison and Franklin were handing out diplomas to kids who deal drugs on campus? But it happens at Lincoln, and everyone shrugs. That's the real double standard here.

A major difference I have noticed between more and less affluent PPS schools is how well learners can hide their drug use. In the less affluent schools, kids walk into class after lunch giggling and smelling like a Grateful dead show. At more affluent schools they have eye drops, sunglasses, snacks, body spray, breath spray and a change of clothes. Overall, drugs are, and always have been, an issue in schools that need more attention.

I teach at one of the most affluent public schools I've ever seen. Drugs are a problem. I've also taught at a very poor, rural school. Drugs were a problem. I went to a relatively affluent high school in a different city in the 1980s. Drugs were a problem.

The O story is therefore almost unbelievably dull. It might be necessary, however, given that some people are actually surprised by what's in it.

The part I find tragic is that it took the death of a football player for people to care. At my school, we lost a "troubled" kid to a drug overdose last year, and it sure didn't make the paper. I wish we valued all kids equally, but for whatever reasons, we divide them into "good" and "bad" kids from "good" and "bad" schools. When we lose a "bad" kid, we shrug; when we lose a "good" kid, we wring our hands and self-flagellate. That bugs me.

"That bugs me."


It seems to lead to a culture where "good" (old) people can get away with anything and "bad" people have no basic rights and just exist to be exploited. The opposite of what I learned made America great.

I just went to the Lincoln HS play "The High School Musical", and it was great!!

The whole cast was wonderful, and the crowd loved it.

And I didn't see much drug use going on, at least not on stage, but then, I am not a crack O reporter (no pun intended).

By the way isn't LO and Lakeridge the rich snobby schools? Does the sign going into LO still say "Welcome to Lake ..ego"?


ah...I remember Catlin Gable...back in the late 60's, when the "druggie kids" smoked pot in the student parking lot (this was way before most schools had a student parking lot let alone knew about drug use) and NObody in authority knew or cared what they were doing.
This was 40 years! ago. This latest business is news?
It is sad that this current crop of kids, school officials, and parents are too ignorant, or disinterested in the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse to avoid the tragedies that occur every day in every strata of society.
teacherrefpoet got it right
As usual the O is behind the times and off the mark, as well as boring.

Aaron hit it dead on. The more affluent the parents the more clueless they are until its time to pay to put in the "fix" so Junior doesn't have to face consequences.

In that regard, Wilson isn't far behind Lincoln.

"Free Alex DiFranco" my ass. The parents of any kid wearing one of those tees ought to have their kid peeing in a cup daily.

Anyone who thinks drugs are more of a problem at Lincoln than at Grant or at Jefferson is dreaming.

"Anyone who thinks drugs are more of a problem at Lincoln than at Grant or at Jefferson is dreaming."

You need to back that up with information or relevant experience. What leads you to this conclusion? While I know first hand from *being* in the system you offer no evidence as to why your statement is true.

If you're going to criticize the Oregonian's journalistic standards you need to abide by journalistic standards yourself - hypocrisy makes for bad reading material, and saying "it's just a blog" detracts from your relevance as an information source.

All I have is anecdotes from parents and teachers -- which is pretty much all that anyone has, including Norm Frink and the other "authorities" quoted in the O article.

There are drugs at every high school. Every single one. If there's front page news there, it shouldn't be about one of them.

And calling up some kid from another high school for a comment was bush league.

From my own experience, I know there were plenty of drugs at Cleveland High in 1970.

From my kid's experience, I know there were plenty of drugs at Grant and Central Catholic in 1995.

I'm sure there are plenty of drugs at all the high schools now.


You're confused. What Jack "needs" to do is whatever Jack "wants" to do.

What you "need" to do is to get some perspective. Sometimes being in the middle of it turns out to be the worst avenue to ascertaining a larger truth - you can't see the forest, etc.

Even Alex DiFranco will serve his year in the slammer AFTER graduating from Lincoln.

Thats the part that blew me away....someone had a crack lawyer there. (no pun intended.)

And anyone here think a kid at Jefferson with the same charges would have only gotten a year?

As the parent of a high school aged son I really feel for the family of this young man. I didn't get the sense that his parents were "out of touch" or that they didn't care. In fact, they sent out a search party when he didn't come home on time. This could have happened to lots of people, and I think that is the message that needs to get out more than anything.

Some kids experiment with drugs, and others don't. My own experience with the coke thing is that it was expensive and to develop a habit you had to have more than a part-time job at McDonald's or a paper route. Many people can be high on coke all day long, and unless other people really know what to look for, nobody is the wiser. The idea that rich kids do more coke than poor kids and get away with it is nothing new.

Probably unlike a lot of parents I talk to my kid about this stuff. I tell him that hard drugs can kill you, and a lot of bad things have happened to people who buy drugs from people they don't know very well. (I'm more worried about him getting Ecstacy and Mushrooms) Even if you get them from a "friend" they probably have no clue as to their source. I tell him that people who deal hard drugs are not very good people, and trusting your mind and body to them is stupid. Using hard drugs in excess, with no clue as to the proper dosage to obtain the desired effect is even stupider. So the moral of the story is that drugs are bad, but if you're going to be stupid enough to use them know your source and his source, take as little as possible to get high, don't do them all the time, and do them with friends you trust, so if something does go wrong MAYBE you'll live.

In the end kids will do what they do. Kids today are way more savvy thanks to 200 plus channels of cable and the internet. Telling them that drugs aren't fun and that you should "just say no" doesn't work. Knowing who their friends are, including their parents goes a long way. Telling the truth also helps along with education.


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