Principal Edward Hardiman e-mailed a letter out to the school community on Thursday that a series of thefts from the school gym had led administrators to discover marijuana usage by some students on campus.
Danvers Patch received a copy of that letter Friday morning.
Hardiman said on Friday that the latest discovery occurred approximately a week-and-a-half ago and the school contacted the at that time, launching an investigation.
Hardiman declined to elaborate on further details about the thefts and how many students were involved, citing a desire to protect students’ privacy.
He described the situation as a small group of individuals, among the 1,250 students at St. John’s, making a “poor choice.”
“The overwhelming majority [of students] make healthy…decisions,” Hardiman said, noting this is the first time in a couple years that a similar incident occurred.
He said the school is seeking to approach the issue in a manner that “confronts poor choices and both educates individuals and the [school] community.”
“As a result of this experience, I urge parents to talk openly and honestly with their sons about substance use and the importance of making good decisions. Start the conversation now and keep the lines of communication open,” Hardiman wrote in his letter, adding that the school counseling staff was also readily available.
“By working together…we can do more to help them navigate the white water of adolescence,” he wrote.
Hardiman said that since Thursday, he has received 50 to 100 e-mails from parents, faculty member and trustees, thanking the staff for talking with the boys involved and seeking to educate them about healthy decision-making, while being open and transparent with the school community.
“They appreciate that [we’re] challenging poor decision-making…to create a drug-free environment,” Hardiman said – one that is a safe place for all students.
Danvers police spokesman Sgt. Robert Bettencourt said the detective division is conducting an ongoing investigation into the matter, but he could not offer further comment on the case.
Hardiman said it would be up to the police to determine if charges should be filed. Possession of marijuana may still be classified as a criminal offense if a large enough amount is involved.
“Our highest priority is to empower students to learn and grow in an atmosphere where they can become the young men they are called to be. Experience tells us that the overwhelming majority of our students do make good decisions, but when we are confronted with the reality of poor choices, we believe it can become a valuable learning experience for our community,” Hardiman said.