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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reader poll: Pot-smoking principal

An elementary school principal out in Vernonia has been busted for smoking pot in a state park. The school superintendent says the principal has his "full support," and that of a majority of the school board. But Vernonia is world-famous for its no-tolerance policy on drugs among its high school athletes.

How long before the pot-smoking Vernonia principal is out of that job?
Less than a week from now
More than a week from now, but before school starts
After school starts but by the end of '07
Sometime in '08
No, he'll still be principal in 2009 free polls

Comments (30)

Since smoking pot is not a crime Oregon, but a violation on par with a traffic ticket, why should we care?

Why can't we speak honestly about marijuana, change the student athlete policy, and let the guy spend his free time as he chooses, as long as he isn't hurting anybody or committing any crimes?

It does fall under the Controlled Substance federal law, however. No matter what the state says, it doesnt trump federal law.

And he's supposed to be setting an example for the kids for starters. I would hope his employer has a drug policy like most employers do. (Although technically, his employer is us taxpayers, so I think we should have something to say about it.)

I don't begrudge anyone at any level of responsibility taking an occasional toke in the privacy of their domain. I think the punishment, a violation, fits the crime. However, once you indulge in the public domain, you take a foolish risk of being caught. The unexpected consequences are beyond ones control and the resulting publicity is an example of that truism. Now, an apparently good administrator's skills will be lost. While the administrator must rightfully bear the consequences of his behavior, the "message" to the students has been sent due to lack of discretion on the part of authorities for choosing to alert the media to this unfortunate lapse in judgment. Say bye bye to your career, unless you're an athlete or entertainer.

"It does fall under the Controlled Substance federal law, however. No matter what the state says, it doesnt trump federal law."

I don't think the US Constitution specifically enumerates the power to restrict controlled substances to the federal government.

This is really really boiling into a "states rights" issue, and I perceive it to hit soon as more and more states become "pot friendly".

For a school principal Miller seems rather slow-witted. What is he doing just standing around at 10 p.m. on a Friday night? Except when driving, I am never in a situation where a deputy has any access to me, let alone the opportunity to just walk right up to me and start asking questions. Amazing. And then he has marijuana on him. Doubly amazing. It's a parade of bad decisions.

I've never used pot (or any other illegal controlled substances, for that matter) but I tell ya... I have had it up to here with the "war on drugs" when it comes to cannabis. Little good and much harm is coming from it. Enough already.

The rational thing to do would be for the Vernonia school district to treat this like the minor violation it is under Oregon law, and also remove pot from their (overzealous) testing policy.

I have little hope that will happen, though.

If he was caught drinking in that same spot, what would have happened?

I agree with genop that "once you indulge in the public domain, you take a foolish risk of being caught." Perhaps he is a smart administrator but that was a stupid move. I can't imagine that the public/parents will be forgiving.

New Vernonia school district motto: "It's only pot"?

I don't think so. "Full support," my eye. "More time with his family" will be heard very soon.

I agree that the “war on drugs” is a total farce. We whine here about streetcars while the feds blow tens of billions every year on something that can never be won. I’ve never done drugs (unless you count truly vast quantities of fine local beer) and couldn’t care less what anyone decides to put in their own body. Having said all that, it was a dumb move on his part and he’ll be out in a week or so.

I feel sorry for the guy, although the Vernonia School District gets what it deserves. Stupid no-tolerance policy for kids, but a double standard for adults. He'll be gone in about a week.

If he was caught drinking in that same spot, what would have happened?

Probably nothing, alcohol is legal. Unless he was visibly intoxicated, then I believe there is a law against that too.

Alcohol in a state park late at night is probably not legal.

Yeah, I thought about that after I posted...

Alcohol in a state park late at night is probably not legal.

Sorry Jack, but when it's late in the evening..., whether in a state park or anywhere else, the "intake level" is likely to rise.

"Probably" not a law agin' it.


Some state parks wouldn't allow you to be drinking alcohol at 10 p.m.

Apparently that's not the case at Fort Stevens, which includes a large campground and beaches. At least, the official brochure (pdf) doesn't say anything about it.

You wonder why the cops even stopped to talk to the guy...

Yeah, I do wonder.

Why do you think?

Renegade cop???

Beats me. I have no idea what the actual circumstances were, but picture this: Some 40-year-old guy's lurking around the park by himself after dark... cop smells pot...

I think it's very likely that the cop was just doin' his thing at the park - which, if you've camped at state parks, is a GOOD thing - and saw (as you say) some guy lurking at 10PM. When the cop checks him out, smells weed, and asks the guy about it, the "principal" admits it and becomes agitated to the point that the cop cuffs him.

If I'm camping nearby with my kids, I sort of think that's the way it should go down.

Further, I think this is about the principal's principles, or lack thereof, unless I'm mistaken.


I'm a parent of a child in Mr. Miller's school. He is the best principal I've ever known. Truly top notch. I can't understand why he did such a stupid act. It's frusterating, but there is a huge amount of support among the local parents for him. He's got some explaining to do, but we don't want to lose him.

Someone who is going to smoke pot in public is not a casual user... it just happened to be in his pocket? It's not just a poor sense of judgement, it's a blatant disregard for all of the things he supposed to be against as an educator. If Vernonia doesn't want to lose their pot smokin' pricipal that's up to them. Glad he's not at my kids schools.

If he's as good as those he deals with say he is, I'd be more concerned about the completely legal alcoholics that work as teachers and administrators in our school districts.

If they're all that hot about students not using drugs, I'll assume they've pulled all the soda vending machines, as caffiene is a drug, too.

Then, our state is now requesting that we approve the gouging of tobacco users to support health care for indigent children. That'll make drug addicts responsible for better health care and give the state a vested interest in continuing to be a party to pushing drugs.

That cannabis is illegal is a product of racism in our culture, not the product of an intelligent survey of the effects of cannabis. Compared to alcohol and tobacco, cannabis is considerably more benign....and not addictive.

Not only did he make the poor choice to smoke pot in public, he chose to do it in Clatsop County where they have the most egotistical and media whoring district attorney. This type of case plays right into his goal of being constantly in the limelight.


This is why you can’t retire from blogging. We get an actual comment from an actual parent. MC is probably right that he is great at what he does, however, in this bumper sticker/zero tolerance world we live in he is almost certainly toast.'s a blatant disregard for all of the things he supposed to be against as an educator.

Would you say that if he were caught speeding? Because legally, it's on par with that. Everybody speeds in public. Habitually. And nobody makes a peep (except to complain if they get caught). Both types of offense are the same weight under the law.

If we don't teach our children the truth about marijuana, we're fooling ourselves, not them.

Of course principals do it.

So do professional athletes, lawyers, cops, teachers, senators, singers, mayors, janitors, engineers, cooks, journalists, doctors and judges.

Vernonia schools' privacy-invading student athlete drug policy is as wrong as the federal laws Oregon rejected with its more enlightened and tolerant classification of pot.

I just attended the school board meeting in Vernonia. Mr. Miller has the full support of the school board and of the superintendent. This was a one-time bad judgement call on the part of Mr. Miller and he will suffer consequences, but not lose his job. Good call Mr. Cox!

now they know why the vending machines at school were always out of Doritos.

as a former student and athlete under mr. miller; i agree with the school board and the people of vernonia. he was always an outstand teacher and a supportive coach

Kids, don't smoke pot.

It's better as steeped tea; or crushed and sprinkled like a spice on foods, such as scrambled eggs, peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

And, kids, don't drink alcohol to excess, but do have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer, fairly often.

There are substitutes for nicotine and caffiene, look in the naturopathic stores and references.

And kids, hugs boost the immune system.

Teach, your parents well, your father's health, will slowly go by.
And so, become your dreams, the ones they picked, the ones you know by.

So when exactly did the new alcohol in parks law pass? I heard that the cases we getting dismissed because of the alcohol percentage they originally had illegal was higher than beer. It was around 14% But when did they issue the new law where you couldn't drink beer in oregon parks?


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