Parents who worry that their kids are falling prey to peer pressure earlier and earlier and in more dramatic ways have a new reason to be concerned. A 10-year-old Pittsburgh girl will be charged with possession of marijuana after getting caught smoking pot at school. The fourth-grader at Pittsburgh Roosevelt PreK-5 in Carrick is set to face internal discipline "on the school level, as well," according to district spokeswoman, Mercedes Howze.
The girl was reportedly taken to the hospital yesterday after administrators learned from other students that she was believed to be smoking marijuana in a bathroom. Apparently, the girl said she had brought the "used marijuana cigarette" and a lighter from home. Definitely disturbing!
Although the D.A.R.E. program traditionally begins around fifth grade, this incident makes it clear that parents may need to consider talking to kids about drugs even earlier, as crazy as that sounds! It may seem unheard of to pull them aside and explain the possible perils of something like marijuana use at the tender age of 8, 9, or 10, but there's no doubt that more and more kids are becoming aware, possibly peer pressured, and even tempted to experiment younger and younger.
Shocking? Saddening? Of course. But the sooner we start the conversation with them, the better.
In the meantime, parents of other kids at the school can rest assured that no other students were said to have "inhaled or used" the pot the little girl had possession of. And the disciplinary action she'll face certainly sets a precedent that behavior like this from a child so young isn't just unfathomable ... It's intolerable.
What age do you think is appropriate to start discussing drugs and alcohol with your kids?