Jeffco Teachers Ask Students to Turn Snitch

November 21 2004, 9:05 AM

These Jefferson County Open School teachers need to go back to school. At a minimum. Had it been my child they pressured to rat out other students, I'd be starting a petition to fire them. What possesses a teacher, a person in a position of authority, to warp a teen's mind by telling them to make a list of people they know who might be using drugs? A rat is a stool pigeon. It is not a commendable trait. It is not something we want to instill and pass along to our children as a virtue. Thankfully, some of the students involved in this regrettable exercise came to the conclusion they'd been sucker-punched on their own -- and complained to the proper authorities.

Students at Jefferson County Open School have asked district officials to investigate why they were "forced to rat out friends" suspected of using drugs. Jelena Woehr, 16, and Lily Bezuidenhot, 14, both students at the Lakewood-based alternative school, told the Jefferson County school board Thursday night that teachers overreacted to fears of drug use in the middle school by asking students to begin making lists of people who might be using drugs. The students say they now fear that classmates who were inappropriately named could be punished or that the district could be sued by parents of students whose names appear on a list of possible drug users. "There's a lot of power in suggestion," Woehr said. "If they say, 'Try and think of someone who is doing drugs' ... there is pressure to think of someone."