Domonic Leuzzi, 23, taught at the Academy of Virginia Randolph, a high school for students with academic and behavioral challenges, but after he ignored the school’s drug-free-zone policy, he now faces three charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing students to smoke marijuana during his shop class.
According to court records, officials say at least three teens confessed to hosting smoke out sessions while under Leuzzi’s watch. A school spokesperson says he’s no longer employed there or anywhere in the Henrico County district. County police Lt. Chris Eley says school administrators notified police after students reported the incident on March 4.
“We got a call from the administration of Henrico County Public Schools saying they received information from students that a teacher was allowing them to smoke marijuana in a class,” explains Lieutenant Eley. “Domonic Leuzzi was actually allowing students to smoke marijuana in his classroom. In my 18 years in police, I haven’t seen anything like this.”
— Crime Monitor (@crime_monitor) March 24, 2016
Perhaps Leuzzi was trying to give his students a head-start on college campus life. After all, a recent student found that 1 in 17 college students are choosing pot over cigarettes. Check out a video report about it below.
The Denver Channel reported last year that for the first time in more than three decades, college students are smoking the substance on a daily basis, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring The Future (MTF) study. The MTF has tracked the substance use of college students in the U.S. since 1980. Researchers are finding that the drug is becoming more and more socially accepted.
“Now there’s not really a stigma anymore, especially for people my age,” said Metro State University Senior Ryan Whitworth.
Harvey Milkman, a professor of psychology at Metro State University, says as the perception of danger decreases, use increases.
“I think they understand that cigarettes are very harmful and they don’t get much out of it. But they do get a lot out of smoking marijuana from their point of view,” Milkman said.
Federal data shows that teen marijuana use is steadily on the rise in Colorado, where it is legally available for purchase. The study of marijuana use conducted in all 50 states shows that Colorado leads in regular marijuana use among youth, according to a Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) media release. Colorado “claims this dubious distinction after being in third place in the 2012-2013 report, and in fourth place in the 2011-2012 study.”
“Now that Colorado has legalized and widely commercialized marijuana, their children use marijuana regularly more than children in any other state,” said Kevin Sabet, president of SAM, in the release.
“In Colorado especially, Big Marijuana has been allowed to run wild, and it appears that kids are paying the price more than in any other state in the country,” Sabet, a former White House drug advisor, added.
While youth pot usage and the legal right to distribute it remains a hot topic in the U.S., another recent study has determined that the “use of cannabis among school-aged kids in Canada has steadily declined for 12 straight years,” per CBC News. Additionally, other drug use is down as well — as is smoking, drinking, and binge drinking. The only increase the researchers saw was when it came to e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Dominic Leuzzi goes on trial in May for attempting to mix survival skills and social skills in the wrong environment.
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