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Carts and pens and e-cigarettes result in locked rest rooms

Student drug use fogging up restrooms and restricting their availability at Inderkum High

Inderkum High School poster made for Red Ribbon Week in an art classroom.
Benjamin Lopez
Inderkum High School poster made for Red Ribbon Week in an art classroom.

When Inderkum High School students use the restrooms they frequently confront a pervasive haze.

“It lingers, and gets everywhere,” said sophomore Jaydee Delizzo. 

Often students with a bathroom pass in hand will stumble upon “a sardine can of people smoking every day,” said junior Rilewa Ayoade. 

Students say little is being done about the problem. 

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“I’ve only seen staff wait outside of the bathroom for people smoking like once, and most of the time they just walk away while people are smoking in the bathroom,” Ayoade said. The preventative measure of locking restroom doors, Ayoade added, “inconveniences people who are actually trying to go since those who want to smoke will consolidate in any available space.” 

State law, found in Education Code sections 48900 and 48900.5 specifies students can be suspended for possessing or using tobacco products “only when other means of correction fail to bring about proper conduct.” Under this law, students can be suspended on a first offense of owning or using illegal drugs. 

Inderkum security officer Art Guerra said, “If a student is caught using or selling drugs, that is an automatic three-day suspension.” 

Regarding smoking, Guerra said, “One issue is if you don’t catch a student directly smoking they can only be warned. Any consequence has to come from actually seeing a kid doing it.” Of tobacco products on campus, he said, “vapes are definitely the most common, and I’ve seen cigarettes a lot too.”

A locked rest room door is a serious inconvenience to students, albeit for different reasons).

Fighting student use of tobacco products and illegal drugs is a multi-faceted effort.

“It is important that schools find out where students are getting a supply of drugs,” Inderkum Spanish teacher Belen Tenorio said. 

Ayoade noted one potential source of drugs can be parents, which makes solving the problem more difficult.

Pointing to another potential solution, Tenorio said, “Rehab should be considered for some of the kids that are addicted to substances.” 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says teachers “can identify students who may be at risk for alcohol and drug use, and work with families to prevent these children from going down a harmful path.”  

The administration also recommends providing“students with the facts about the harmful effects of underage drinking and drug use.”

Guerra said the problems with tobacco and illegal drug use at Inderkum are caused by “a small minority that are making things worse for everyone else.”

Still, some students say new approaches need to be adopted to improve the situation.

“There definitely needs to be a change, (because) all the solutions so far haven’t cleared anything up,” Delizzo said. 

Another locked bathroom door, this one decorated by students. (ben)


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About the Contributor
Benjamin Lopez, Reporter
I am a freshman at Inderkum High School. I am also a poet for Sacramento Area Youth Speaks representing Sacramento in an international poetry competition hosted by Brave New Voices. I am also a swimmer and love to write and make art for clubs in my school.
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