If you find yourself wearing a hemp necklace, pacifier, mushroom beads, or even a Bob Marley t-shirt you are a pothead. If you find yourself wearing a hemp necklace, pacifier, mushroom beads, or even a Bob Marley t-shirt some people may perceive you as a pothead.
These two sentences are not that different from each other, yet half of the junior class heard the first sentence, from Student Assistance Program Director, Darrin Donmoyer, and the other half heard the second sentence from the exact same information at an assembly held for eleventh grade students on Tuesday, October 6.
Monica Drumm was one of those students who happened to hear the first sentence. “It offended a lot of people,” said Drumm who later reflected that, “anyone hearing those things (referring to Donmoyer’s comment) had a problem.”
The anger of many students could be easily seen from the sudden outburst of Facebook comments, and the planning of a “hemp day” where students planned to protest Donmoyer’s comments.
A clarification: Mr. Donmoyer insists he did not call anyone a pothead. In fact, the topic of Tuesday’s speech, he said, was how some people make perceptions and that it is a fact the people wearing hemp necklaces are sometimes perceived as potheads.
This was all meant as a warning to students, said Donmoyer, about how easy it is to make a perception.
Principal Phil Gale explained that if students had actually listened to the entire message, they would have found that message fine as it was presented.
According to Gale, the problem was “kids stopped listening.”
The following Wednesday, the senior class trudged into the auditorium, with their coffee and their breakfast, and heard that same message. However, there were fewer misconceptions of Donmoyer’s intent than there were at the junior class assembly.
In response to the sudden uproar among students, Mr. Donmoyer said, “no one is accusing anyone of drug use, unfortunately some have assumed that.”
Donmoyer also believed, “I made it very clear. I made it very clear” just exactly the message he wanted juniors to get. “These are assumptions people still make.”
Gale added, “Appearance gives perception and no one wants to be falsely labeled.”
Donmoyer summed up his message by clarifying that the intention of the speech was to warn students of perceptions that people continue to make to this very day. It is something that continues to happen and that those perceptions do affect you as a person, your future, your family, and your integrity.
On the question of a “hemp day,” Gale responded that if that day would occur, and if it did result in a disruption in education, then the administration would, in fact, be forced to take disciplinary measures, and this could possibly include the banning of hemp necklaces.
By: Tyler Barnett