Following an incident at Westlake Middle School in Oakland, where a student handed out chocolates containing magic mushrooms, parents are expressing frustration with the school's handling of the situation. CBS News reported that the school's delay in communication added to their distress. The incident brings public attention to the broader implications of psychedelic substance use and regulation.
As California lawmakers consider a bill to legalize certain plant-based psychedelics, the incident in Oakland raises questions about safety and regulation. The bill, which passed the Senate and awaits Governor Gavin Newsom's signature, could legalize substances like psilocybin mushrooms for adults over 21 by 2025. This legislation is increasingly scrutinized when children, far younger than the legal age, become unintentionally exposed to these substances, as per The Intercept.
Bryttney, a Westlake Middle School parent shared with CBS News, "my daughter was drugged, because she took something without the knowledge of what was in it." The school stated that they took immediate steps, claiming, "immediately started investigating and called the families of all involved." Yet, parents contend that the response fell short of adequately managing the situation.
Veronica, another concerned parent, believes the school should have done more. She suggested in her conversation with CBS News that "they, should have kept them all in a room with adult supervision." Instead, the students were allowed to continue their day after consuming the substance. The student responsible received a suspension, prompting debate regarding the sufficiency of school disciplinary measures.
The discussion concerning psychedelics isn't entirely negative; there's notable advocacy for psychedelic therapy, especially for mental health issues affecting military veterans. Jesse Gould, a former Army ranger declared to The Intercept, "We hope that Governor Newsom agrees that veterans should not be criminalized for seeking healing through psychedelic substances and signs this bill into law." However, Oakland's recent case underscores the challenges of controlling these substances' misuse.