The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 10, 1968 · Page 52
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 52

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 10, 1968
Page 52
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D&-Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, Nov. 10, 1968 HEARING $7C AIDS ID- Bo Merits AccMtsritA Rtpoift, al maktt RIVIERA OPTICAL 1415 Ireeiwey. Briwi lew! 141-4417 One High School Losing War Against Drugs "SERIES OF BIBLE LESSONS" conducted by LARRY ACUFF Allen Park; Michigan SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10th thresh FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15th dangers confronting their children through the pages of the underground press, the pressure of the hippie movement and the pro-drug lyrics of the "acid rock" musicians teenagers Idolize. Bobo said McAllen is not alone in the Rio Grande Valley in having a drug problem and cited the case of Brownsville, some 60 miles down-river, where authorities are convinced that the unsolved murder of a college student known to be a steady marijuana user was linked to the drug traffic. Following the student's death, revelations similar to those at McAllen began to emerge at Brownsville High School and officials there still battle the youthful smoking of "grass." where the stuff came from." He said the pills are passed around like peanuts In the boy's washroom, and that the smart student just looks the other way and keeps a wary eye on his soft drink. . The school principal said he knew of 70 to 80 students who are steady users of drugs ranging from marijuana to pills and admitted the figure was "very conservative." Customs agent Bobo agreed that the figure was conservative and that drug use could not be eradicated completely, but' said the right approach "may at least bring it down to a running walk." Included in that approach at McAllen high Is a series of seminars aimed at educating parents and teachers to the odds that any approach would eradicate them. "If kids are going to take drugs and smoke marijuana, they're going to do it," she said. "Nothing anybody can do or say is going to change that." According to another student, a 15-year-old, the first taste of drugs is not always voluntarily, or even knowingly. The boy, who denied drug . experimentation himself, said: "When you buy a Coke from 'a Coke machine at the school, you keep it in your hand. Set it down for a minute, turn your back on It, and you're likely to find yourself doped up good when you drink it. I know a couple of kids who wound up high, and they never knew Customs agents say only a tiny percentage of the marijuana being smuggled across the border is detected. Last year alone that percentage, seized at Texas border checkpoints from Brownsville to Laredo, came tQ 72,000 pounds of the weed. Complicating the situation also Is the fact that McAllen Is only 30 miles from a Mexican ' border town where every pill in the pharmacy can be purchased without prescription for from 8 to 10 cents apiece. When high school authorities informed customs agents of the narcotics problem at the school, the agents were not .surprised. They had expected trouble since last June, when a 20-year-old McAllen youth, a convicted marijuana smuggler, won probation Instead of prison from a federal Judge. "We know the kids had been watching that case," Chief U.S. Customs officer Leslie Bobo said. "I've heard they were taking bets at the high school that he'd beat it, and that's Just what he did. It was like opening the gate." An agent who worked on the case, James Riggs, said: "I'm MCALLEN," Tex. (LTI)-One young high school girl suddenly collapsed and had to be taken from school in a wheelchair. ' Another sat in a classroom, staring sightlessly, pouring out a s tream of obscenlt les. . A boy, sent to the school office for Irregular behavior, groped bliortly for the principal's desk, then fell when he couldn't find it. It was on a beautiful October afternoon that the drug scandal broke at McAllen High School In the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. , There are no slums here, no ghettos, no roving street gangs to rip at the fabric of peace and tranquility. ' But an alarming number of the school's 3,000 students were smoking marijuana .or using pills called "yellow-jackets," "red birds" and "blue heavens" barbiturates, depressants and stimulants. Many still are. The students apparently were finding narcotics as easy to come by as chocolate bars or chewing gum. The source-was Mexico, 'just across the Jllo Grande. Church of Christ 3846 10th Ave. North, lake Worth (PS w 1 o) ' ' n m E f .Uii n certain this case has a bearing on the situation at McAllen klgh." What Riggs called the "situation" was that drugs were being used, from the freshman class through to graduating seniors. Principal Harold Harrington went into action when the sudden rash of students "high" on drugs brought the problem into the open. He called a faculty meeting, asking Riggs and three other customs agents to come in and educate the teachers about narcotics. For most of the teachers, memories of juvenile hljlnks included little more than a clgaret furtively puffed behind the barn, or a bottle of beer filched from the family refrigerator. Pills and marijuana had no place In their range of experience. "We want to be able to spot It," Harrington told the teachers. "We want it out of the classroom out of the school." A tough new code of student conduct was Introduced, with expulsion threatened against drug use. Six students found themselves out for the remainder of the semester. ' One of those was a 14-year-old freshman girl who voluntarily told of her single experience with a pill. She refused to name fellow students who were Involved In pill traffic and so was expelled. She said her boyfriend had given her a pill and told her it would give her "kicks." She didn't know what it was at the , time. "It was a yellowjacket," she said later. "I took it and I got dizzy.. Things started moving around and It really wasn't pleasant at all. I'll never try it again. Several kids around me . were high. They were all taking the pills." The episode took place on the high school grounds during class hours. Asked If students pushed pills In the school, she said: "Boy, yes you can get anything you want. It's just given away." Adult explanations of why kids experiment with drugs generally are steeped In sociology and the intricacies of the human mind, and mention rebellion, social protest, and other arcane motives lost in the "generation gap." But this 14-year-old said simply: "Kids do It for one reason.' It's kicks nothing more. It's just something to try." She said she agreed with the principal's tough stance against drugs but gave slim THE ELECTRIC TYPEWRITER THAT WON'T MAKE MISTAKES! 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