Follow-up to ‘Investigation of drug use’ article

Dear editor-in-chief, 

On behalf of the Burlingame High School administration, I want to provide additional balance, perspective, and factual information to the article titled Investigation of Drug Use: Exploring the Prevalence of Drugs on Burlingame’s Campus published on March 13, 2023, which did not accurately capture school-wide protocols and supports connected to drug use or drug related incidents. 

San Mateo Union High School District and Burlingame High School prioritize the safety, wellness, and mental health of all students, which includes preventing and investigating drug related issues on campus and providing support to those who struggle with addiction. The BHS administrative team and school community aim to support all students by creating a safe, welcoming school environment free of drug use while also providing education and prevention programs, such as Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE), Substance Use Program (SUP), Brief Intervention (BI), and Vaping Awareness Prevention and Education (VAPE), see additional program details here. While this information was shared during the Burlingame B interview, these important details were omitted from the article. Given the statistical data and concerns shared in the article, it is imperative that students are aware of the support programs provided by the school district. Our school and district’s primary aim is to educate on and prevent drug use. 

Per California Education Code, drug use and/or possession of illegal substances are suspendable, and in some cases, expellable offenses. To make these determinations, the BHS administrative team adheres to requirements outlined by California Education Codes, such as:

Education Code, Section 48900 – Ed. Code violations that lead to suspension: 

  1. Possessed, used, sold, furnished, or been under the influence of any controlled substance, alcohol, or intoxicant. 
  2. Offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell a controlled substance, alcohol, or intoxicant and then provided a replica substance. 
  3. Possessed, or used a tobacco product. 
  4. Possessed, offered, arranged, or negotiated to sell drug paraphernalia. 
  5. Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell, or sold the prescription Soma. 

Education Code, Section 48915 (c) violation that requires mandatory recommendation for expulsion (related to drugs/controlled substance):

  1. 3 Selling a controlled substance.

Education Code, Section 48915 (a)(1) violation(s) that requires discretionary mandatory recommendation for expulsion (related to drugs/controlled substance):

(C) Unlawful possession of any one controlled substance except for the first offense for the possession of not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis, over the counter medications, or prescribed medication. 

Per Assembly Bill 982, if a student is suspended for more than two days, the student will have access to assignments and will be able to turn in assignments for credit. In the case of an extended suspension or expulsion recommendation, additional academic support may be required. Students with Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) are provided additional support during suspension as defined by Ed Code and IDEA. 

The BHS administrative team hopes that this additional information provides clarity in regard to due process in connection to drug use, drug related incidents, and disciplinary decisions. To reiterate, our main goal is to educate, support, and ensure all students are safe on our campus. BHS administration encourages students to seek the help of a trusted adult on campus, when needed. We are here to help. 

The Burlingame B article raises many questions and points for discussion for teenagers and we encourage students to engage in dialogue with peers, with parents, with adults to help you make good choices. The teenage years are filled with risk-taking, peer pressure and sometimes difficult choices. Saying no is ok. Talk with another peer, make a pact to say no together. Volunteer to be the designated driver. If you know someone who has struggled with sobriety, celebrate each week, each month or each year, they stay sober. Though ads abound promoting alcohol and marijuana, you can choose to celebrate, cope or distract yourself in other, healthier ways.


BHS Administrative Team