An increasing number of students are showing up to class high, and in many cases late, which in turn has created discord in public, private, and charter school classrooms, according to teachers who spoke to The New York Times.
While there is no absolute data on marijuana usage among schoolchildren, data from the New York City Department of Education showed a 10% increase in the number of drug and alcohol-related offenses in 2023 compared to figures from 2019, The Times reported.
In 2021, New York State legalized recreational marijuana, with much of the tax revenue set to be directed toward communities of color, which for decades bore the brunt of marijuana arrests.
But more than two years after the massive policy change, teachers reveal that many students are struggling to handle the aftereffects of cannabis given its widespread availability. Many instructors point to the growing number of smoke shops in the city, as well as the ease of obtaining and using vape pens, in reasoning why some kids are unable to focus once they’re in the classroom.
Several teachers told The Times of kids taking out vape pens when their backs are turned to the students, as well as bathrooms and stairwells that smell of marijuana.
But given how quickly students can hide cannabis or vape pens, teachers often have to use their judgment when assessing whether or not a pupil is high.