Once upon a time Forest Hills High School in Queens, New York was a highly respected institution. In 2000 it received the National Blue Ribbon award for excellence in Education and Hillary Clinton gave the commencement speech at graduation.
But now things are reportedly “spiraling downhill,” with rampant marijuana use and kids smoking weed in every bathroom, and in the “halls and trash-littered stairwells,” as reported by The New York Post.
The blame is mostly being placed on Forest Hills’ new principal, Ben Sherman, who is being painted by the school’s teachers and staff as some kind of gonzo anarchist educator.
Sherman has made a series of questionable decisions since taking his position in 2017. For instance, he decided to loosen the school’s bathroom policies, keeping bathrooms open at all times and removing aides who previously signed kids in and out of the restroom.
Since kids could go behind closed doors whenever they wanted, some decided to use it to sip on their pipes and vape pens, as well as vandalize the restrooms and “relieve themselves on the floor,” according to a staff memo.
Sherman also chose to deactivate eight door alarms in the school, saying that they made too much noise, so kids can now pretty much leave and enter campus whenever they feel like it.
Teachers have complained about the constant odor of marijuana all over the school, with one telling the Post they have been “bombarded with the strong scent of pot in the school hallways — and even in my classroom.” Another said that on one occasion they had to move their students from their classroom to the auditorium because the “smell was so bad you could taste it on your tongue.”
When teachers took their complaints to Principal Sherman, he reportedly said, “Marijuana is going to be legal soon, so what can we do?”
The problem at Forest Hill runs a lot deeper than just being a paradise for stoners. The lax discipline at the school has reportedly caused students to be “coerced to smoke in the bathroom. Sexual things were going on.”
And, in an incident that sounds a lot more like maximum security prison than a high school, some kids through a cup of urine through a classroom’s open window in the middles of science class.
Staff have given Sherman a vote of no confidence, 195 to 21. Since then, the matter has gotten kicked up to the teachers union, the superintendent, and could go up to the Department of Education.