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Students talking about illegal drugs?

Mrs. Monica

Full Member
The other day I was subbing for 7th and 8th graders. One of the stories I read in their lesson discussed the importance of taking a break from work to relax, eat, sleep etc. One of the questions I was supposed to ask was, "What do you do to relax when you take a break". One boy said that he gets baked. Then all the students started talking about smoking pot, getting drunk, and using crack. :( One of the students asked me if I use drugs. I said, "no" and moved on with the lesson.

I'm just a sub who doesn't know these kids. I care about them, but I don't know them. I don't know if they were trying to sound cool and making some of it up. I wanted to tell them that drugs would screw up their brains and they could get seriously hurt themselves or someone else (while driving for instance), but I didn't feel it was my place to do so. The truth is that I did smoke pot almost everyday at their age and switched to whiskey by early high school. And, many of the kids in my high school would snort cocaine during their lunchbreak. But, I don't think it would have been wise to reveal that. However, I do have a strong opinion against drugs now.

Has anyone else had this problem? The students seemed to want to talk about it, but I didn't know how to deal with such a conversation.


New Member
From time to time you will get a class that likes to play "lets see if we can freak out the sub." Trying to get the teacher to talk about drugs (espec. which ones they've done) or sex is sometimes a symptom of that, in my opinion. So, its always a possibility that is what is going on.

I think you're within your rights to say a couple things against using drugs, but then to get on with the lesson. That's how I've tried to handle it as well. We're there first to teach what the regular teacher sets out for us. I know we're a fresh face & sometimes that sparks curiousity, but there's limits to how much of an impact one can make in a day or so, and if their parents and regular teachers aren't enough to dissuade them from drugs, a lecture from a sub isn't likely to make much of a difference either.

If its health class and drugs are the topic at hand, that's something else, of course.


New Member
discussing sensitive subjects

I do a lot of subbing in the middle and high school grades and on more than one occasion I've had the subject of drugs come up. Tagryn is right - sometimes they do it just to see your reaction. But sometimes they really want to talk. I stress the negative aspects of even occasional drug use and I try to let them know that I speak not only as a mother and teacher - but as someone who has been around it enough to know first hand how it can mess up a young persons life. With my own kids I will go into details and answer their questions more freely - even talking to them about my own experimenting. However, when you're dealing with other people's children and especially when you're representing the school, you really have to watch what you put out there. I think stressing the importance of staying drug free can never be a negative thing. I would rather do that than avoid the subject completely but I definitely wouldn't bring up personal experiences.

Mrs. Monica

Full Member

Thanks for your replies. I feel like I did the right thing in this situation. I might discuss it a little more with them next time, but not much more. :)


Senior Member
Hard one!

By the way, Mrs. Monica, have always been impressed by your posts. Your'e a gal like me!

I am still trying to deal with this one as a parent of a 12 year old. At her age, I truly did not know the literal definition of "f**k" although I knew it was a no-no. What is being shown on normal prime-time TV ASTOUNDS me and I was completely shocked, years ago, when "ass" not the donkey one either, became part of our common and accepted lexion (first time I heard it was Archie Bunker, just to show how old I am!).

Now, puh-leeze, don't misundesrtand me. I've used almost every drug except heroin (or at least, everything available up until 1980 or so). Lucky for me, LSD and "speed" in the late 60's or early 70's (my heaviest experimentation time) were also the best times for drugs being their at their most pure, or better than now I should say. (Don't even ASK me what crack cocaine means, I don't KNOW but I DO know it wrecks lives horribly...thank God my generation (mostly) escaped the truly dangerous S**t!)

I subbed one day at continuation HS (kids on their way OUT) and they got to flexing their muscles, via their drug use, and I sat down with four of them and told them (for whatever it's worth) that they were not inventing anything new, and that I had been there, done that, BORING. They of course, wanted details, which I of course, failed to provide. But I tryed to hip them (oh lord, "Hip" sets me back a century if not two) to the fact that their act was MINE at that age...and that if they wanted to truly be clever, to take a hint and get some other things together. The group I was talking to - three guys and a girl - were at heart, just so VULNERABLE it broke my heart. The girl was the most resistant to my rap, but the boys seemed (I think) to perk up their ears a bit when I said w/o really saying that believe it or not, I had once too been a wild teen, and at the rate they were going, they already had pre-marked body-bags coming home from Iraq...

Who knows the answers? But for me, allusions to my youth w/o details, and trying to hip (LOL!) them to realiity...for just a day...I try to do that!

As for being a parent - and dealing with these questions - I need to be on an entirely different baord!