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April 19, 2018



Do we know kids are taking this stuff? Yes.

Does that make the article OK? No

The article glorifies the sale and the use of the drug on the BHS campus. What fool told this reporter that she could use the phrase "who asked to remain anonymous" as a defense in a pubic school. Some adult somewhere is in charge and they put the writer and the dealer in serious jeopardy based on the penalties below. Using or selling drugs on or near a public school is a major issue.

Why would writing an interview of a person who states that he sells drugs on campus get protection?

If the reporter wrote a story where an individual confessed to theft or vandalism with the phrase "who asked to remain anonymous" the police would be all over this child.

How is BHS and or BPD not going to investigate this issue? This is the statement of a known drug dealer on the campus in a confession to a reporter.

Sale or attempted sale near a school or other facility
Under the Controlled Substances Act, a person convicted of selling or attempting to sell amphetamines near a school, including a college, or other areas where young people may be present faces twice the maximum prison sentence, twice the maximum fine, and twice the term of supervised release. (21 U.S.C. 860.)

A person is subject to the enhanced penalties if he or she is convicted of selling or attempting to sell the drug within:

1,000 feet of a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school
1,000 feet of a public or private college, junior college, or university
1,000 feet of a playground, or public housing facility, or
100 feet of a public or private youth center, public swimming pool, or video arcade.
(21 U.S.C. § 860.) The distance is measured from the location of the sale or attempted sale and the grounds of the facility. Schools and especially universities often cover acres of land and a drug sale with the specified distance of any edge of that property can lead to the enhanced penalty.

Additionally, many states, like California, punish criminal offenses that occur on college and school campuses more harshly. So the $5,000 fine and 5 years in jail a Californian would normally be facing for a first offense selling a small quantity, could actually end up being $10,000 and 10 years.

It Gets Worse

While a $10,000 fine and 10 years of your life for selling a $3 - $15 pill is nowhere near a justifiable risk, those are not the only consequences a person selling “study drugs” needs to be concerned about. Federal student aid, including loans, can be denied after a person is convicted on a drug charge. That means that even if you accept a plea deal that could keep you out of jail, if you plead guilty to any drug charge, even just possession, you could lose your federal student aid.


John, your facts above should be published in the high school paper. What is so astounding about this article, is not that drugs are being sold on campus, is that this is a High School paper with a Faculty advisor! It basically glorifies the benefits of an illegal drug, on campus!


I'm thinking Mr. Nelson needs to get back on campus ASAP.


The faculty advisor should suffer consequences for her incompetence. Isn't part of the curriculum of a journalism class the basics of media law? The students may be too clueless to realize the implications of publishing this article, but that's what the adult advisor is there for. Wow, that teacher really dropped the ball on this one. A learning experience for everyone for sure!


If the unnamed dealer is a minor and paper has printed his confession, the student's parent may be able to sue the school and the advisor as this is a school based activity. Negligence. The parent of the dealer (who will be prosecuted for the crime) has an expectation that the child's privacy regarding the illegal actions of a minor would not be printed in the school paper. Once the kid does get arrested, everyone will know that it was the kid from the newspaper article.

The advisors would have to get the permission of the parent to print the statement by the minor that he is breaking the law. If the dealer is under the age of 18, then he can't give consent to the adult advisor to print his crimes and defame the family... all using tax payers dollars.

This is not a story about Prom dresses....where consent is not needed regarding an opinion. I'm sure the advisor got "cool points" with her students for letting them print the article.


Mr. Law, thank you for the insights. You are a welcome addition here. This looks like a no-win situation for the kid, his parents, the school and the taxpayer but perhaps a lesson will be learned.


Holy Cow Mr. Law.
You seem to believe that harsh Prison penalties are the only way to Fix a problem that is "Human Evolution.
There no problem.
This is the way of the world.
Thank you for responding to a very important event.


The problem is the paid employee (Advisor) who is asleep at the wheel trying to be "cool" with the kids and collecting that fat state retirement check.

The kids will take the hit for this one, but why does the teacher get the Free Pass? The adult is in charge of the class and has a responsibility to the kids. Its the advisor who should get fired.

The article glorifies drug use and encourages kids to use it to "improve grades."

if the kids watch the advisor walk out in shame for losing his/her job, they will learn a real lesson.


I believe the best way for the Students at BHS to give thought to this "Event," would be to read and respond to your observations.
Surely, someone there must be monitoring this web site.


This teacher won't be so cool once the shit hits the fan. I cannot believe how completely irresponsible, incompetent this person is as a journalism advisor. Did she even have any training in the subject? What kind of curriculum was she following? Even common sense as an adult is lacking. How old is she? And I guess no one reads the school news since this was published in November... Well, someone's gonna get schooled now...


Of, for goodness' sake, I looked her up and her undergrad degree was journalism! Guess she missed her classes on media law and ethics... The legal jeopardy she put her students in ... oh, some parents are gonna be pissed -- and rightly so.


I took a look as well.

BHS Newspaper Advisor

Here is the link


Melissa Murphy
Mrs. Murphy has been teaching at BHS since 2004. She has her Masters in Education from George Mason Universtiy and a Bachelors in Journalism and History from Indiana Universtiy. She took over the Journalism class in 2014. She enjoys guiding her students through this modern world of information and teaching them how to make sense of it all.


Isn't she the same teacher that was involved in the Nelson madness? The teacher that was stocking students on social media?


OMG, you are right! What kind of lessons is this woman teaching! She does not belong in the classroom. This is completely reprehensible.

Steve Kassel

Highly doubtful that John Law is an attorney. If he is, John doesn't know the law very well. In fact, if he's a lawyer, he's a boob and a half.

First, my son is a Burlingame senior.

Second, I have NEVER used illegal drugs. Not once, not ever.

Third, while the editorializing in the article is inappropriate, it is clear that there are a significant number of Burlingame students that are using drugs NOT prescribed for them. Don't even get me started on marijuana use.

Fourth, the same rules apply to students in a school newspaper as for any other publication. You won't get comments without protecting your sources. I have written over the years for numerous publications including while in high school and that is a FACT.

Finally, I hate all use of illegal drugs, but I would much rather have this out in the open.


The student newspaper is a class, not an independent element of free speech. If it were an underground newspaper and not affiliated with the school, then it would be protected. Since the paper is a "curricular" function of the school, the students do not full first amendment rights.

It is true, they won't get the information without protecting their source... that is the problem here... they don't have the right to extend a right of privacy like they don't have the right to leave campus without permission. If there is an action posted in the paper, it is the responsibility of the advisor, who is supposed to review and approve all articles.

The action reported is a criminal act, not an investigation of the cafeteria food. While an anonymous source of a non-criminal action could be protected (even in a high school) this is not the case.

Does a coach report steroid use or is it their discretion to keep it anonymous?

This is a case of an adult allowing criminal activity on the campus to be glamorized and published. (which now means the teacher is also aware of the criminal activity and who is doing it-which endangers students-and did not report it.)

School's are empowered to censor student newspapers and are therefore liable for the information that is published when it is inappropriate.

Simple question.. teacher knows who is selling the drugs... what the required action?

Publish it in the student newspaper!

Steve Kassel

I hope Law is his name and not his profession.


I am sorry this "News Flash" has overtaken your very important " lawsuit Mr. Kassel.
Following your "Good Fight" for equality at the City of Burlingame,
Re: SMUSD, will distract the BV, and other local newspaper/neighbors from the "Battle" you Mr. Kassel have been forced to seek justice from.
Stay on track Mr. Kassel.


This is not keeping the issue "out in the open."

What was the objective of publishing this article the school paper?

---"became one of the many teen Adderall dealers in the Burlingame community."

--"I don’t turn a profit, I just do it to help the people around me."

Do these two phrases belong in the high school newspaper?

To legitimize that Adderall "makes you smarter" just validates what the students already think and its why they want the drug.

"I just do it to help the people around me" once again legitimizes the act of drug sales on the campus and in the park as a needed market.

Is anyone really being helped by this guy?

So... now that it is "out in the open, what is anyone doing about it?

"One student, who asked to remain anonymous, became one of many teen Adderall dealers in the Burlingame community shortly after he was prescribed the medication for Attention Deficit Disorder."

“I was super happy but I felt I was cheating a bit, so I started giving to people I know who were not doing so well when they had tests,” he said, emphasizing the academic pressure involved in buying the medication from peers. “I don’t turn a profit, I just do it to help the people around me.”

Asked around from the kids. The teacher went bat shit crazy last term when a student posted their "real thoughts" about her as part of an assignment on evaluating the teacher on a classroom blog. Nothing nasty, "she plays favorites, hates males, doesn't grade work, doesn't know #$%&., is just an all around inferior teacher." The teacher was not paying attention to the blog and the comments stayed up for an extended period of time.

Once she got around to reading the comments she went after the student for posting the truth.

BHS has many great students and many who need help and assistance. An article about drug use on campus is one thing, an article glamorizing speed as a method to get higher grades, better scores, and where who to buy it from is not appropriate.

Who is going to protect the kids from this teacher?



I can't help but wonder what Kassel's problem is with this guy (John Law)? He seems to make good sense to me.


I agree Hillsider


Since the article is based on selling drugs at or near a school, the reporter (student) can be compelled to produce the name and information of the "Anonymous Source." The attached list describes those in the real world who were jailed for not producing the requested evidence.

This is a high school and the reporter is now in jeopardy of being forced to "out" the person who is selling drugs in the school. The advisor had a legal duty to block this article to protect the student reporter.... who is now in jeopardy of being mandated to produce the name.

Paying the Price-Journalists Jailed for refusing to provide sources.

Johnny war

It sounds to me that the angry parents in this comment section should be talking to their kids instead of being here spouting terrible things about a KID who wrote an article approved by the faculty so you evil parents know your hurting the kid who wrote it?It seems to me your kid is the one on drugs or selling them talk to your kids the school cannot raise them for you and I feel that’s what Burlingame parents do get offline and online with your kids !!

Johnny war

Memo to Burlingame parents : RAISE YOUR OWN DAMN KIDS!

Johnny war

Eye opener huh? Ask your kid if he or she is on drugs are you guys scared to talk to your kids ?? Are you too busy at work ? Is the nanny raising them? Hmmmm I wonder why they are on drugs? Every parent who wrote something on this site is a bad parent because they talk to trolls and deep web instead of their child sad

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