Busted Bears: Student Experiences with School Discipline

3 mins read

*All names of students interviewed in this article are pseudonyms to protect their privacy.

M-A’s administration has been cracking down on vaping at school and drinking alcohol at school events. We spoke to four anonymous Busted Bears who paid the price. Students interviewed mostly thought administrators were friendly and that the consequences were fair—or even too lenient.

The most common consequence for Bears interviewed was being banned from events similar to the one they were caught at.  

David was caught drinking at a football game and said, “I play soccer, and I was banned from playing at my next soccer game.” 

Amelia was caught drinking at the Homecoming dance, and explained, “I had to attend Saturday school and was banned from Winter Formal, but not Prom.” 

Some consequences were more severe than others due to the circumstances. 

David said, “Usually when you get caught, you either get suspended or get Saturday school. In my case, since I already had a relationship with the AVP office, I was just banned from the next two football games, and as a 12th Man, that wasn’t great. Though, I only had one Saturday school session.”

Adam was caught vaping during school and said, “I got two hours of community service, and they told my parents.” 

When asked what they thought of the consequences they faced, most Busted Bears felt the punishment fit the crime. 

Adam said, “I think it was fair—I only got two hours of community service, while other people I know have gotten more severe punishments for the same thing. It seems like they let me off pretty easy.”

Sandra, who was caught drinking at a football game, said, “Given what I did, the punishment should have been a lot more severe. I think drinking at school is very bad. I should’ve been banned from all the games, been suspended, or gotten more Saturday school. I think the punishment I got was very lenient.” 

Most interviewed also felt that they were treated well by the Assistant Vice Principals and by Principal Losekoot. 

Sandra said, “I was treated really nicely. When I went in for my meeting with Mr. Muys, he started off the conversation asking if I was okay and if I needed help in any way. During this whole school year, he has been an amazing administrator. I appreciate him even though he did get me in a little bit of trouble with my parents. They [AVPs and Principal Losekoot] all care deeply about the well-being of the students and campus.” 

Adam was more critical of the process, and said, “It took me a while to complete my community service. I should’ve been able to finish it in the first two days, but it took me much longer because the custodians were busy. That was pretty annoying, but overall they were all pretty nice to me. I can’t complain too much.” 

Students interviewed were split about whether this would curb their drinking or vaping. When asked if he would change his behavior in the future, Adam said, “No, I don’t think so. If anything, it taught me to just be more careful when I do it at school.” 

Amelia sarcastically said, “This punishment and lesson has made me a new and improved citizen, and I would never do something like this again.” 

Others, however, seemed to be inspired to change their behavior at school. David said, “Getting caught has made me much more cautious about drinking. I personally have stopped drinking before school events. Ever since people started getting caught, there has been much less drinking at school events.” 

Amelia added, “I think what I did was definitely bad. This event was a reminder to me to be more responsible in the future.” 

Many students interviewed said they were not given help from the school to avoid drinking or vaping in the future. Adam said, “There were no tools to help me stop. One lady from the office said, ‘Coming from someone older, you shouldn’t do that stuff because it’s bad for your health.’ But there were no resources, tools, nor any guidance to help me.”

David said, “In terms of helping with drinking or substance abuse, they didn’t really help me at all.” 

However, Amelia, who drank so much she blacked out on campus said, “I had to attend three sessions of substance abuse therapy here on campus, in the B-wing.”

Some interviewees didn’t think their behavior posed a real threat to their health. David said, “I think Saturday school was really helpful, and it was more about reflecting on what I did. They wanted me to think about the consequences of my actions, especially as a senior, because I have to be a role model for the underclassmen.” 

Overall, the consequences of drinking or vaping at school are not worth the good time. 

Karen is a junior at M-A. This is her first year in journalism. She hopes to write narratives about her own life and connect them with other students from M-A. In her free time, she likes to write poetry, spend time with her cat, Joy, and family and friends.

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