The Vancouver School Board has a message for its students: School is in session on 4/20. The school board issued a notice ahead of April 20, a day used to celebrate marijuana use, reminding students that attendance will be taken. The notice also took the opportunity to encourage parents to talk to their kids about the potential risks of marijuana use.
In Vancouver, an annual 4/20 rally draws thousands of participants, often in support of the legalization and decriminalization of the drug.
The notice was issued by the school board's Substance Use Prevention Initiative (SACY), which engages parents and community members on school-based alcohol and drug prevention.
Outlined in the document were the potential harms of engaging in marijuana use and the "lifestyle that goes with it," such as diet, stress with family and school performance. It also addressed best practices for adults who want to speak to youth about drug use.
Although the Vancouver School Board seems to be alone in publishing a document of this kind, school-based drug and alcohol prevention strategies have been presented by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
The Trudeau government's high-profile commitment to the legalization of marijuana has sparked a call for comprehensive rules and regulations surrounding its recreational use, with the enforcement of laws against impaired driving at the forefront of concerns.
Vancouver School Board associate superintendent Nancy Brennan says the notice has been sent to parents and school administrators for the past three to four years in response to growing popularity of Vancouver's 4/20 event.
"Over the years we've seen the event grow and we recognize that it may be tempting or interesting to students," she said. "But we want students to be aware that it's a regular school day and that the event is not condoned by the school district."
According to Brennan, the notice is also intended to encourage parents to have conversations with their children about substance use.