Mirador Investigates Constructive Possession

Colleen Burke, Opinion Editor

Although the intention behind Miramonte’s “constructive possession” rule is to keep students safe, in reality it puts innocent students in danger of being unjustly reprimanded. Many students don’t actually know what constructive possession is, and the Miramonte High School agenda describes it as “student observed to be in immediate vicinity (indoors or out of doors) of another student engaged in any form of inappropriate/illegal activity, and student makes NO EFFORT to separate himself from activity, student may be deemed to be equally at fault…. including suspension and expulsion proceedings.”

What if someone is a designated driver? Although one would be doing a considerably good deed by safely driving friends home from a party, they are still considered at fault for not stopping the drinking, and in turn are subject to punishment by both the police and the school administration.

Choosing to be around others engaged in illegal or inappropriate activity can pose a moral dilemma for teens. Furthermore, a teenager should not be responsible for stopping others’ actions. If they themselves are not engaging in these actions; then why should they have to face punishment?

The administration has jurisdiction over a student on school property, during school hours, school sanctioned events, and en route to and from school. This means that if someone were to drive directly from school to a party and they were caught drinking or caught around people drinking, their punishment could be at the mercy of the school. On the other hand, if you were to take a quick stop at home first, you would be turned over to the police. How does the school have a right to control what you do out of school hours and off of the school campus? Although the inappropriate activity is most likely around fellow students, it is still their own choices. These choices may be learning experiences and do not affect the school. If they do, it is the student’s fault and not for the administration to deal with.