Here’s a shout-out to Skip Ashe. I’ve known Skip for 27 years and we taught together at Macdonald Consolidated. Skip was one of the most dedicated and respected teachers I have known. The year before he retired he continued to try out new ideas and methods – he always brought his A-Game. Both he and his wife Kathy are on staff in my dream school.
Each year MacDonald Consolidated organizes a trip to Quebec for its grade 8 students, and for years students were permitted to sell chocolate bars to help offset their expenses. . I wasn’t too far into my tenure as principal when I was advised that Miranda had either eaten her bars or had spent the money she collected; regardless, she was on the hook for at least the cost of the bars, $20. I explained to her that she had a period of time by which she needed to settle the bill.
The following day one of her teachers approached me and handed me 2 joints (marijuana). He explained that Miranda had turned them in to him but did not want to explain as to where they came from. I asked him to send her to the office.
Now I could go into a lot of detail but here’s the bottom-line: one of Miranda’s friends felt sorry for her, and her need to come up with $20; so, what do good friends do? She took 2 joints from her mother’s stash and gave them to Miranda who, in turn, could then sell them on the bus and raise some of the $20. Miranda was not at all comfortable being in the possession of marijuana but didn’t have the sense to give it back to her friend; consequently, she turned them in to her teacher. Of course, this became a police matter and, needless to say, a number of Miranda’s friends were not not very happy with her.
The following week I was working in my office when the secretary advised that Miranda wanted to see me. She entered the room and promptly placed a clear, plastic bag on my desk. It contained a white, powered substance. She said, “It’s cocaine. I don’t want anything to do with it. Please don’t ask who gave it to me.” I did ask her a number of questions but she wasn’t very cooperative. I thank her for doing the right thing and told her to return to class. She asked what was going to happen. I explained that I wasn’t sure.
I must admit, my cocaine experience was, and remains to this day, limited to what I have seen on TV cop shows. I was fairly certain I wasn’t staring at a pound of nose candy; after all, we were just a K-8 school. Honestly, what would a pound of smack be doing here?
As I thought about it, I figured out what was probably going on. On a hunch, I took a look at Miranda’s class schedule and saw that she and her friends had had art class earlier that day. I went to the art room and started poking about. In one of the cupboards I found a box of cornstarch which had been opened and missing 1/2 of its contents. As I compared it to the bag of blow I realized that it was the same substance. The mystery was solved. Miranda’s friends were setting her, or me, up for embarrassment.
Sometimes the best reaction to a situation is to do nothing. That’s exactly what I did. It was never mentioned again.
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