DRUG BUST- A Reporter's Perspective
New York Times September 3, 2008
Branchwood High School is located on the corner of SOM Center Road and Solon Road. One-hundred percent of sophomores last year received superior ratings on their Ohio Graduation Tests, and Branchwood was ranked 2nd best high school in the Midwest in Time magazine in 2006.
As students shuffled through the halls of Branchwood High School for their first day, many were eager to meet their teachers, see old friends, and begin another great year-others had alternative motives. Yesterday, Janitor Joe witnessed students in the bathroom snorting a powdery substance. Shortly after, Joe reported the incident which lead to further examination.
The Police arrived shortly after to assess the scene. What Officer Jim Barbrady found was shocking. Janitor Joey described the incident to the officer. Soon after, Barbrady was questioning the students caught using in the bathroom. Further examination of the bathroom led police to believe that the main offender was the prescription drug Adderall.
The locker of the convicted student Steven Barnes was opened and searched. Barbrady was shocked to see numerous prescription bottles all containing the amphetamine. Controversy has since risen over the correlation between the outstanding test scores of the high school and the possible drug charges being brought against Mr. Barnes.
Adderall is typically prescribed to those who have attention deficit disorder and have trouble focusing in class. It is common for some college students to snort the pill to feel the effects faster. This abuse of the drug is harmful to the health of the user. Recent events have shown that perhaps this fad is becoming more common in high schools as well.
Janitor Joe who uncovered the scandal now gives his perspective:
"I was cleaning the halls of the school one day and I noticed a couple of students enter the restroom. They had just left their lockers and accidentally left one open. I am not the one to go through other peoples stuff, but no one was looking so I went in. After rummaging through books and old graded papers, I am across this one locker. This one locker didn’t have much in it, but I quickly noticed a small plastic bag with whitish orange pills. I didn’t think much of it at first but quickly realized this is a student’s locker. The locker was of Steven Barnes. I had no idea what to do. I knew the pills were a type of drug, but I didn’t know which one. Should I tell the principal? Even though I found the pills, it was still wrong of me to go through other peoples stuff. Will I get fired? I need this job.
"I haven’t been on a stable job for a while and I just got accepted to this job. I need the money! My family is counting on me. But on the other hand, the student is in possession of drugs. It is wrong for him to have them. I must take responsibility and tell the principal. I know this is the right thing to do and hopefully I will not be punished for the actions I have done."
Statement of Brett Thompson, 16:34 September 2, 2008, Branchwood County Sheriff’s Office.
Conducted by: Officer Jim Barbrady
Officer : Can you please state your relationship between yourself and Mr. Barnes?
Mr. Thompson: Me and Steven have been friends since way back, 4th or 5th grade, of course middle and high school didn’t make us as close as we were but who cares, we didn’t hate each other.
Officer : Mr. Thompson, the point of this interview is to determine Mr. Barnes was capable of conducting this drug harboring on his own, or whether or not you believed he has multiple internal sources.
Mr. Thompson: You mean does are there other people with Adderall in the school?
Officer : Not necessarily in possession, but in possession with intent to distribute.
Mr.Thompson: I told you on the way down here that I don’t do Adderall.
Officer : For your protection, can you please repeat what you said in the car.
Mr. Thompson: From what I’ve heard, yes, Steven has Adderall, I don’t know where or how he gets it, and honestly I don’t want anything to do with it. Steven is a good guy, times are tough for him, I can understand why he needs the extra money. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you guys he is completely innocent and should be let free, but you need to understand his circumstances before you guys do something too fast.
Officer : Can you give me an example of his circumstances?
Mr. Thompson: His mom just lost her job, his house isn’t the nicest, they have to make cuts in they’re lives, I guess Steven was just tired of wearing hand me downs.
Officer : So he started dealing Adderall?
Thompson: I’m not going to incriminate my friend.
Officer : We are just trying to get facts straight, we found drugs in Stevens locker, we just are trying to figure out how long this has been going on for, and what his source is.
Mr.Thompson: Well his source is not me, and I don’t know how long it’s been going on for. So why the hell am I here.
Officer : When we contacted Mr. and Mrs. Barnes for a list of contacts, they immediately said your name.
Mr. Thompson: Yeah because Steven barely is at home, he’s usually out doing ………stuff.
Officer : Can you elaborate?
Mr. Thompson: No. I cannot. Anyway when I am with him we usually hang out at his house, which is why I’m really the only friend his parents see Steven hanging out with.
Officer : Can you give on conclusive opinion on Mr. Barnes?
Mr. Thompson: Okay but I’m not going to comment on what happened today in school.
Officer : You mean his locker search and drug discovery?
Mr. Thompson: Yeah, none of that.
Officer : Okay proceed.
Mr. Thompson: Give the kid a fucking break. Our school has one of the highest rated test scores in the nation, and honestly, Steven is most likely responsible for the study habits of the school. It not like heroin was in his locker. I’m done here.
Interview Concludes at 16:58