[Nameplate] Fair ~ 57°F  
High: 67°F ~ Low: 53°F
Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

School officials seek to build back trust after student's death

Friday, January 18, 2008

Greencastle High School Officials responded Thursday, to new information regarding of the December death of 17-year-old Dietrich Jackson. Fielding tough questions regarding school policy and public allegations of wide-spread drug use among their students, officials asked the community for understanding and trust.

"I hope that the community and parents would trust that we are doing what we think is best for our students," said Greencastle High School Principal Jim Church, though he acknowledged he may never be able to change some minds.

Church said he was disturbed by recent statements made by law enforcement officials who said that prescription drug use was a problem at Greencastle High School.

"I would never say that none of our kids do drugs," Church said, but he felt the statement unfairly targeted all GHS students.

"I have a tremendous amount of faith in our student body," Church said. "It's really unfortunate that so many have to be drawn through the assumptions made about all our kids."

Though the principal acknowledged being unfamiliar with the so-called "Rx parties" described by law enforcement as leading to Jackson's death, he said the school has been working hard to curb drug use among its students for years. The principal said finding solutions to drug use among young people will take a holistic effort, and is not an effort that school systems can tackle on their own.

"This is the society's problem, the community's problem, law enforcement's problem," Church said. "This is also a parent problem. It's all of us."

As students, faculty and staff continue to heal, and as more information is released, Church says the school will respond to their concerns about prescription drug use, but he fears that more classroom education will not be enough.

"We're certainly not going to weather the storm and then just go on with business as usual," Church said. "We need to join forces so it's a bigger thing than the school having a convocation in the auditorium."

Athletic program

faces criticism

Church, flanked by Greencastle Athletic Director Scott Knapp also addressed the concern about the school's treatment of student athletes connected to the case.

One student athlete has been arrested in connection to Jackson's death, and community members have expressed concern that despite allegations of the athlete's involvement, he continued to participate in a varsity sport.

With a copy of the school's athletic policy in one hand and a student handbook in another, Church adamantly denied that athletes receive preferential treatment. Instead, both administrators replied that they are forced to consider ethical and legal consequences of their actions, not just what they would like to do.

"We investigate these things," Church said, explaining that they could not penalize students based on mere rumors or allegations. "We can empathize with what the community might think. But legally, our hands are tied."

Describing a culture where people are quick to file lawsuits, however frivolous they might seem, Church says that school policies and actions are always viewed through legal lenses.

Knapp described the current situation as akin to the 2006 Duke University rape case, where university officials prematurely expelled members of the lacrosse team who were later fully exonerated. Though settlement figures were sealed, Duke University paid a significant financial consequence for their actions.

"We may know something, but if we don't have a solid case there is nothing that we can do," Knapp said.

"The legal system has changed things," Knapp said. "It's a lot harder to be a coach these days."

Both officials say that they have been waiting to hear the results of a police investigation, and as more information is released, they will take action.

"Coaches have agonized over this," Church said.

Citing the ongoing community forums on the BannerGraphic website, Church hopes that as people begin to heal, they can also begin to see past the rumors and innuendo surrounding this case. He says he hopes that when people have concerns, they will come to him.

"We're public servants," Church said. "Parents entrust their kids to all the staff. I need to be accountable to any question they have."

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

"Church said he was disturbed by recent statements made by law enforcement officials who said that prescription drug use was a problem at Greencastle High School".

Prescription drug use is a problem at every high school in Putnam county. Greencastle is not an isolated incident. But it is scary that the high school principal is clueless about RX parties. And parents you need to check your prescription bottles a little more often. This problem is not new. It's like everything else, no one gets concerned until someone dies. It's a pretty pathetic commentary on our society and our community.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 5:27 AM

Knowing about drug use in school and proving drug use in school are 2 diferent issues. If a student tattles on little Johnny for passing a pill, the school can't (and won't) do anything unless they have absolute proof of the allegation. Shool systems are more afraid of little Johnny's parents sueing for accusations than stopping the problem. The "Duke U" boys may not have raped the stripper, but they still had a booze and stripper party. Duke is still getting sued. There is drug activity going on in all our schools and schools have lost their iron hands to control it. Drugs aren't the only problem, their are also the issues of sex and violence to deal with, and school officials have their hands tied in trying to deal with that, too.

-- Posted by strings on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 5:37 AM

I know that a hugh percentage of GHS students are dabbling with drugs. A Counceling Center in Greencastle has told me that GHS has a large drug use problem but with the rights to privacy of juveniles these matters are swept away as if they are not there.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:02 AM

Unfortunately, I have to agree with you all.

As a parent, I constantly discussed drug use with my children, only to find out that you could get drugs in their high school easier than out on the streets. After one of my children witnessed drug use in the bathroom, I went and spoke with the principal only to be told that they could not guard the rest rooms at all times. I am fortunate that my children have since graduated and doing well, but it does concern me that drugs are that easily assesible in the schools. Parents, Please talk with your children regarding drugs in their school. If they tell you that they have witnessed the use of drugs while at school, contact your principal and dont stop until your satisfied. As parents, if we don't look out for our children, no one else is going too.

Your complaint to the schools could be the difference between life and death.

-- Posted by dbltrbl on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:11 AM

"Parents entrust their kids to all the staff. I need to be accountable to any question they have."

Biggest mistake to be made by parents, they trust the schools with their kids. We can't even trust our children to be safe at church, let alone a public school.

School officials are dreaming if they think they can provide a safe environment for our kids to be educated in that is worthy of our trust.

-- Posted by strings on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:21 AM

I just read the article and comments made by your readers. Many have made some interesting points but no one is willing to come up with a solution or suggestion. Our society is not perfect nor will it be. As parents we have a tough job and so do our school officals (no matter what school you are dealing with).

A suggestion that I present is get more parents involved. What I mean by this why not have parents (with state gov't background checks) volunteer to be at school. Yes, I can hear many of you now saying that is what the teacher/admistrator is suppose to do. Yes, the educator does do these things but as was mentioned earlier the teacher can not be everywhere. If you have volunteers walking the hallways being in the bathrooms, or being in the parking lots maybe some of this will slow down some of the improper behavior (drugs, theft, ect). I think we would be living in a dream world if we believed that we could stop drugs but we can slow it down.

-- Posted by Henry on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:56 AM

Did this athlete that was arrested undergo drug testing through GHS? Probably not, GHS does "random" drug testing, they won't test based on probable cause.

The problem of parents hosting alcohol parties for teenagers is bigger than people want to admit.

Parents need to be more aware of what, where, when, and with whom there kids are doing things.

-- Posted by beachbum on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 7:40 AM

Here we go again...Come on Mr Church it's not a legal issue. What happened to just doing to the right thing. You don't have to kick the kid off the team till you have all the information however he doesn't have to participate. I seem to think that athletics or any extra curricular activity is not a right it is a privilage. All the students respesent GHS and to have most of the community know what the story is and you be afraid to take a stand is wrong. As I've stated on here before there are other athletes in the programs that have legal issues that have been settled in the court and nothing has happened to the student athlete. When is Greencastle High School going to take a stand and say that students who participate in our programs are going to be held accountalbe for actions they chose.

-- Posted by TiredofThisTown on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 7:50 AM

Teddy, first of as a student, a senior, and someone who is pretty knowlegable, i didn't even know what an Rx party was until I read the news. Pills are not a major problem in GHS, sure a select few use pills but not to the extent portrated on the new or you are being ignorant and assuming. You are not in the school, you simply don't know. Mr. Church is probably one of the best principles we've had in a really long time. I don't see how Mr. Church would know what an Rx party was or anything like that. He doesn't hang out with kids at their houses outside of school. If students didn't know (and most don't know) what these Rx parties are, how can you place the balme soley on Mr. Church?

-- Posted by ghssenior on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:28 AM

I repeat what has been said many times before,why are we so fast to blame but so da.. slow to react? It doesn't take but a second to blame...LOOK IN THE MIRROR!!!!! Quit blaming the principal, the teachers, law enforcement, or anybody else! WE are the problem! I have one remaining student in high school after watching five others make it to adulthood and living fairly good lives. I can only trust that he chooses the right path but can I trust your son or daughter? You need to help me with that.

Mr. Church, I can't even imagine what concerns and responsibility you and your staff are facing. I will back your guidence and try as hard as I can to help as a concerned parent. We may have a few bad apples but there is huge orchard of good ones.

-- Posted by Insane Due to Society on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:29 AM

Mr. Church says he has "faith" in the student body. Is this the same faith he demonstrated to the 7th period phys ed class?

Faith is fine thing, but its definition is "belief even in the absence of evidence." It does not mean sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich and waiting for the danger to pass.

Allegations of drug possession and use by students and student athletes have been common knowledge in the community for a long time. Students know. They tell their parents. Parents tell the school. Nothing happens. It borders on wreckless behavior by school administrators to think that just because they can't prove it, it isn't happening. Actions -- and inactions -- have consequences.

Personally, I think the proper stance here is not "faith," rather "trust, but verify." Let's hope there will be a little more of that now. But it saddens me that it took the death of a student to wake everyone up to what's been going on for a long time.

-- Posted by FAW on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:35 AM

Mr. Church, if you don't know what an Rx Party is, you better wake up and start learning about this stuff. As a principal, aren't you supposed to be prepared for drug issues in schools. Now I'm not a principal or anything but it would only make sense that some training might need to be done on these issues.

-- Posted by indtonyc on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:40 AM

This isn't just a Greencastle problem. There are prescription parties going on in other school systems in the county, too. Question -- does the drug testing even pick up prescription medication? I don't know . . . but it's something to look at if it doesn't.

The magnitude of the prescription drug problem is incredible. It's worse than alcohol or illicit drug use. And our kids know exactly who to go to in the community to get what they want -- in whatever quantities. It's terrifying because they are playing with drugs that, when improperly mixed, will kill them. I don't think this young boy was the first it's happened to in our midst -- it's just getting more publicity because of the arrests involved -- which are LONG OVERDUE! (No reflection on our law enforcement -- they have to work within the law but I'm certainly glad these individuals were finally caught.)

I heard a young person recently make a blunt, and frightening, statement to the effect that these kids experiment with prescription medications and take a little more each time they use just to see what happens -- and you don't know how much is too much until you've made the fatal choice that puts you over the line.

-- Posted by MotherOfTwo on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:41 AM

Oh come on Mr. Church! You don't see the problem? This is EXACTLY the problem!!! If the school officials can't see it, how can we stop it? I'm glad my kids have already graduated and yes, they did tell me the drugs were everywhere! TALK to the kids! They really will tell you.

And the sports program... WHO'S hands are tied? Believe you me, if someone makes a coach mad, they can sit the bench the whole game. Nothing legal about that. If they aren't so and so's kid, they just might sit the bench too. BUT, the legal system has changed things?? What planet are you living on? If that coach knew these kids had even BEEN at one of these parties, he should have sat each and every one of them for the whole game. Course, there probably wouldn't even be enough kids to play but as a coach, it's your job to show ZERO tolerence instead of the preferential treatment that these small town high schools are known for doing. Do you honestly have to explain to parents why these kids don't play each and every game? If you do, then maybe there's something wrong with THAT picture! Stop worrying about the (influential) parents and do your job teaching the kids...... ALL of them!!!!

-- Posted by bannerstuff on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:44 AM

Parents need to use good judgment and wake up. I attended a party over Christmas break in Greencastle and was disgusted by the fact that there were at least 2 sets of parents there, alcohol flowing freely, and underage kids. I am of age so I left immediately. I'm not even sure how to solve this issue. Maybe we just need to enforce the law on this. Maybe if more people face the consequences for it then they would be more hesitant to do it in the first place.

-- Posted by indtonyc on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:45 AM

Most of the comments are really showing the true ignorance this county has. Mother of 2, you are 110% wrong when you made this statement, "The magnitude of the prescription drug problem is incredible. It's worse than alcohol or illicit drug use." I'll be the first to admit that there are a fair share of kids who drink and smoke, but NOT THAT MANY KIDS EAT PILLS. Get that through your ignorant skulls. You are unfairly portraying the school, the students, the administration as a prescription pill emporium. Sure we can all point fingers at the principle and AD because that is the easy thing to do, but the wrong thing to do. Most likely, your kids have used drugs at some time or another. Everyone just needs to stop bashing this, seriously, what good does it do?

-- Posted by ghssenior on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:53 AM

I am not bashing your school nor the administration. My children don't even attend Greencastle -- which is why I said it's a countywide problem. I'm just sounding in on the issue -- and yes, it is a real problem. Perhaps you don't believe it is at your school, but it certainly is at others.

I've known of prescription parties taking place numerous times -- and law enforcement has been made aware of it, but they have parameters within which to work and the individuals hosting these parties are continuing to do so, unscathed. I'm deeply saddened that a young person has lost their life! It's absolutely tragic.

-- Posted by MotherOfTwo on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 8:59 AM

teddy, i am not denying there is a drug problem, that's pretty obvious there is a lot of kids who use. but not pills. a few students use them, and to say that turning a blind eye is the reason Dietrich is dead is insulting. yes he made a bad choice,and it tragically cost him his life. but in regards tot he testing program, everyone knows it is a joke. as far as the randomness goes, i know lots of athletes who get tested, maybe your son or daughter just has a knack for getting drawn.

-- Posted by ghssenior on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:00 AM

And let me clarify -- the pill use may not be taking place actually IN the school, it's taking place recreationally on the weekends and evenings, at the same time the drinking is going on.

If you don't run with these kids, GOOD FOR YOU! But it's out there and it's happening.

-- Posted by MotherOfTwo on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:04 AM

Sadly to say we are all blaming the schools, but we really need to be blaming the community! Drug use is AWFUL in this community. And as you can see from all this people will sell drugs to anyone, no matter their age. If they are selling the drugs in school they are obviously getting it from somewhere else. We need to do something as a community to get a better handle on all this!!

-- Posted by sickofitall on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:08 AM

Mr. Church is the finest principle, and one of the finest human beings I have ever encountered. There is no way that he can come in to the school system in the short amount of time that he has been here, and be held responsible for a problem that has been escalating for years. Instead of trying to blame all of our problems on him, let's try to work together to figure out what can be done to help the situation. I know that Mr. Church has the best interests of all the kids at heart, and I know he wants what is best for the school. The truth is we are all to blame. Parents, students, school, police, community. Let's get past the blame game and look for solutions.

-- Posted by ursula on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:36 AM

Why are there so many prescription drugs for sale on our streets, could it be that our doctors are giving people prescriptions that they don't need or just more pills than needed for that ailment, maybe they should shoulder some of the blame. It's not the schools fault that people are taking drugs. Our parents need to spend more time with their children and not worry about their own socializing so much.

-- Posted by T.C. FATHER OF 2 on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 10:22 AM


-- Posted by listenup on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 11:08 AM

Attention students and parents...

Mr. Church is the principal, not principle.

Remember: "The principal is my pal."

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 11:14 AM

ghssenior, I am a fellow classmate and I am in complete agreement. Mr. Church has completely revamped GHS and has done everything but turn away from the problems in this school. Most of the community is unaware of the actions he has taken to reach out to the students. He has several student committees that he meets with on a semi-weekly basis. During these meetings, he asks the kids about our "drug problems" and alcohol abuse and we do not shy away from the truth. Yes, kids are doing drugs. Yes, kids have always done drugs. Yes, people in the community are enabling some drug usage. But no, this is not because of the school corporation!! I'm sorry that Mr. Church hasn't called each and everyone of you to let you know about every move the school/administration has made, but your ignorance does not equal fact. Just because you don't know what is happening, doesn't mean it is or isn't. As a person who is highly involved in this school I can tell you with the utmost confidence that Rx parties are a news brief fabrication who's sole purpose is to create a more dramatic headline. I have been to my share of parties, I have listened to more than my share of gossip. I am aware of what goes on at this school, you can't possible pretend to have a clue. You think your kids tell you everything? That all of the high schoolers that come to your house are ready to spill their guts? They aren't. Whatever they tell you, I'm sure at least some of the truth has been left out or altered.

-- Posted by highschooler on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 11:15 AM

To all of you with your heads buried in the sand, I say you need to wake up. This is not about blaming mr. Church. This about being responsible citizens and knowing what is going on in your county. Most drug use does not happen at the schools. It happens at kids' houses before their parent get home or even while they are home. Parents tend to think their kids aren't doing drugs. Your kids will lie to you. Kids are taking pills; combinations of pills, and drinking alcohol with them. Xanax and Klonopin seem to be a favorites, as well as Vicodin and Oxycontin. They end up in the emrgency room getting their stomachs pumped or passed out in their own vomit. You all are floating down that river in Egypt - Denial.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 11:27 AM

altheles do get special treatment...i worked in the office and ive seen may drug using athletes, who i know smoked teh night before, and "passed" the drug test....this was before Church. so leave the man alone...from what ive heard he's the best principal we've had in years...check with the coaching staff, and other "head hancho's" in the school. when your best athletes are drug users, its easy to look aside.

-- Posted by 06alum on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 12:15 PM

To CloverLady -- Amen! You are right on with what I'm trying to say in this forum, too. It's not about what our school principals do or don't do -- these are "extra curricular" activities and you are dead on with the pills you name. I've been through the overdosing and passing out and hospital runs -- scared to death of losing my child!

Unless and until our kids are willing to own up to what is going on and start cooperating, the police are virtually powerless to do anything about it. They can't arrest someone distributing pills because they "think" they did something. There has to be proof and testimony to back it up.

-- Posted by MotherOfTwo on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 12:50 PM

No one is saying it's the schools fault that kids take drugs. M beef is when you know or even suspect a child is on drugs or word of mouth, then test the kid. If he is innocent he has nothing to hide, or fear and his rights were not violated. I know the same kids get tested even though is supposed to be random !get picked over and over cause they know those kids do not take drugs. Greencastle is not that bad of a place to raise your kids. Their are bad apples everywhere it just that in Greencastle it gets ignored if they are good at ball playing. Not all of our sports teams are bad kids here. I am just saying a qtip swab does not test over a 24 hr period very well make them take the urine test. I think the parents should drug test their kids if they suspect it. Hey it lets your kids know that you will not tolerate that as a parent and let them throw their life away. Parents do your part and Athletic department do your testing . Coaches bench a kid if he does horrible acts at school like duct taping a child to a pole then sticking a towl with urine on it in the kids mouth. YOU DID NOTHING!!!! One of those kids started ball that night. POOR POOR examples, that just shows bullying is tolerated. Kids get grasp for little things. and yet some do horrible htings and get NOTHING!! they get rewarded by playing ball. Playing on team should be a privledge. My kids have always stayed out of trouble , one I enforce laws as parents in our own home. 2. the school should keep our kids safe while in their care and this means from high bullies. I can't wait till this is finally all over. It's very disturbing to see and hear the same names all the time doing something and no remorse or punishment. What comes around goes around.

-- Posted by savethekids on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:11 PM

As a parent of a high school student, first let me say YES, THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH DRUGS IN GHS...believe it or not students, what you consider a "problem" and what IS a problem are two different things...remember, we ARE the parents and we use grown-up logic when analyzing these matters.

HOWEVER, this problem is not the fault of Mr. Church or any other school administrator...it is a NATION wide problem.

The real problem at hand is that the drugs that are being abused are not as "innocent" as pot...they are potentially fatal. Several years ago my brother (13 years younger than myself) got caught up in Meth...using, manufacturing, and dealing...it had a real hold on his life. He did not care about anyone or himself, just where his next fix was coming from. Thankfully, he was caught stealing materials to mfg meth and arrested...he has had a long and VERY hard battle but he is now drug-free and has been for 3 years...I am so very proud of him. Had he not been caught and arrested he may still be "caught in this trap". This drug could have taken his life...however, I do not blame his abusing drugs on the school administration, my parents, no one but him and the "thug" drug pushers out there getting our children hooked on these things.

As parents, it is our responsibility to closely monitor our children and try our best to lead them in the proper direction...there will always be kids that make a wrong choice even though they are from a good, clean, reputable, drug-free family...my brother is proof...

My point...don't try to pin this death on the school or the administration...direct your blame in the proper direction and students, please do not be "fooled" into thinking there is not a problem...drug use is 10 times greater than when I was in high school in the late 1980's...and 10 times DEADLY!!!

-- Posted by mkycrzy1971 on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:16 PM

Did the poor adolescent behavior stop the day after the Dietrich's death? At home, at school, or at parties? Sadly, I doubt it. How can we turn this tragedy into something positive? And because it happened in our community, it's up to us.

QUESTION: would GHS (and probably every high school) benefit from having a forum/group of past students share their knowledge of drug and alcohol use in AND out of school grounds? Proven the night Dietrich died, current high school students cannot be the ones to expect honest answers or help from. They most likely are in a compromised position. This group would meet independent of the school corporation, and present the answers to the School Board and Administration. It should be an ongoing group, keeping the information fresh. It would put out helpful warnings or information to parents. It would educate the school system thoroughly and fairly. Maybe at the end of the day, legislation needs to be enacted. If so, perhaps call it 'Dietrich's Law' (reference to 'Zachary's Law'). Let something positive start. Today.

-- Posted by hope4all on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:21 PM

I believe that Mr. Church is trying to be more like a friend to the students- rather then a principle. Yes, it is great that he is sticking up for the student body, however he is wrong if he truly believes that these parties and drug use is minimal. I have ask my children many of times about drugs in the school - way before this tragedy. The answer has always been the same- "I can get anything from pills to pot". Also, the altheles (all) should have been drug tested- when all of this first happened. If they have nothing to hide then no one should have a problem being tested. Also, as mentioned in the artical- you do not have to take the individuals off the team - but they can be benched! I do not think that people should be more focusted on the life that has been lost- then winning a basketball game!

-- Posted by DjKay on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:29 PM

I did not know Dietrich nor do I know his family but I think while blaming others for Dietrich's death that they are forgeting something. Dietrich had a choice that night too! He had a choice to tell his grandmother the truth about where he would be all night! He had a choice to attend a party in which alcohol was available or not to attend. He had a choice to drink the alcohol or not. He had a choice to snort drugs into his system. He was probably an intelligent kid who knew that alcohol and drugs can have a harmful affect to his body! Some of the blame lies within himself. He made bad decisions that night too just like his peers who accompanied him! You can not place all the blame on his peers for not getting him medical attention! Whether it was Dietrich's first experience with alcohol and drugs or his one-hundredth experience, he had to have known it was the wrong thing to do and could have made better decisions for himself!

-- Posted by be a better parent on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:31 PM

Hey high school kids, a few students doing drugs is a BIG problem!

-- Posted by mad-mom on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 1:37 PM

Why are non-athletes and non-drivers not drug tested at Greencastle? There is also a huge problem with preferential treatment for some students. Specifically those whose parents are prominent in town and those who are high scoring athletes. They claim that the drug testing is random but it isn't. If you poll the students eligible, some will have never been tested and some will have been tested excessively. Russ Hessler needs to be relieved of his duties and never should have gotten them in the first place. His decisions are not equal and fair and never have been.

-- Posted by tigerlily on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 2:08 PM

You know I have to wonder when the responsibilities are going to be put where they really lie. The kid was a minor and his parent should have made sure that they knew where he was and what he was doing. It is not Mr. Church's resposibility to make sure our kids don't do drugs, it is ours. I believe that if we educate our kids OURSELVES and make sure that we know the kind of people our kids are hanging out with then this stuff can be stopped. We should not just turn our kids lose on the weekend and let them do as they please. Some times we have to be the "mean parent" and say, "no you are not going there or doing that!" Also these kids have enough common sense to know that these so called RX parties are just plain stupid. As parents we all need to be more aware of our kids. As far as drugs in school that is a problem that will always be there and has always been there since even my parents were in school. Well educated kids will refrain.

-- Posted by Momof 3 on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 2:53 PM

Tigerlily: Some years ago there was a court case where a parent sued the school system, stating that the school could not force the child to take a drug test. The plaintiff won, so the current policy was adopted.


I'm another recent GHS grad who has heard plenty about alcohol and marijuana, but never an "RX party" until December.


I would also defend Church's statement

>"I would never say that none of our

> kids do drugs," Church said, but he

> felt the statement unfairly targeted

> all GHS students.

It is technically correct, although now is probably not the best time to pick nits with the police, given the feelings of the community at the moment.

-- Posted by JD1 on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 3:09 PM

I had the honor of spending eight weeks with the staff and a number of students at GHS last year at this time. Dietrich was a fine student and unfortunately was in a position he should have known better to be in. As role models for students, the staff at GHS I am sure feels a bit of remorse for their lack of positive influence, which they do provide, in that though they speak of the things to be considered right and true as an example of good character for students, I have found that all humans hear and few listen do to personal interests. It was Dietrich's personal interest to consume and the result is a consequence taken to the grave and unable to be learned of. Although, staff of GHS, continue to impress upon your students a positive influence. As educators, we know we cannot reach them all, but if only one, it is time well invested. For a month now I cannot help but wish I could have been a better influence than the opportunity allowed.

Are drugs a problem at GHS? Of course. Drugs are in every school, and in every classroom is a drug user. As Mr. Church says, we are all rospinsible for this--society, peers, parents, all. And then it boiled down to the idividual. Blame the indirect links and the direct links assumed responsible for Dietrich all you want and gather all the money and publicity neccessary, for in the end it is one persons fault, especially in this case. For many of us no conviction and soiling of any community members name will change our minds.

Although Mr. Church is someone who would not speak well of me, I will say of him what I can because I hold no grudge or lack of forgiveness, nor a incapability to understand the heat of a moment--he is professional and is sincerely full of faith in his students and staff. I am confident that all course action was conducted reasonably. I am impressed that he was more prudent than the state police to not punish a student without the necessary information (or proof) to do so. Mr. Church, although we have had our differences, you are a great influence to me this day and the best administrator as far as fairness and character I have EVER encountered. Do not be discouraged by those who do not know the size or wear and tear of you shoes and the path behind them.

-- Posted by bluegrass on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 3:40 PM

I had not read all the above till now and don't agree with all but do agree with some. This is a hard fact about GHS, there are some who can do no wrong, do get special treatment, cheat but thats Ok, and yes have the eyes shut or heads turned when the wrong things are going on. How can anyone say there is equal treatment when Church meets with a selected group on a regular basis?? Why could he not try and meet with every student in these special sessions on a routating basis/ Would that not be the right thing to do? One smokes and the police are called the next doesn't even get detention?? One breaks a rule and faces expulsion but if you are a handpicked or a school employees child you face nothing and even stay on sports teams?? Fair and equal no and in fact tack a trip to Northview and see if they didn't face the same issues.

-- Posted by Trying hard on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 5:04 PM

As a two year graduate of Greencastle High school, i believe there is a small drug problem. From Greencastle athletes to the student body there is in fact a drug problem. Drugs of all kind are being distributed by parents,people with money needs and friends. I know for a fact, from hanging out with some of the senior class this year there are drug problems that need addressed. As far as Mr. Church goes, hes not doing anything wrong, and if kids are getting drug tested over and over again its for a reason. Mr. Church, im sure is doing the best that he can to keep the school clean. As far as athletes go... well, i think they should all be drug tested and i think all student body should be tested once a year. THATS a problem. I didnt get drug tested unitl my senior year. So if i were into drugs my freshman through junior year wouldnt have mattered because i wouldnt have been caught. In saying this, the RANDOM drug testing isnt all random, It cant be.

As far as parties go, there are so many parties put on by young kids that the police wouldnt know where to begin to stop them. Thats where it comes into the PARENTS hand to stop it instead of hosting these so called Drug parties. I myself have never heard of an RX party. Usually parties in greencastle are just Parties which consist of drugs and alcohol. Dietrich was a good kid, but it was his fault too. if he didnt know what the drugs were he obviously shouldnt have taken them. And every person in this world who is old enough to consume alcohol knows that it enhances the affect of drug usage.

This incident is one of many in Putnam county. I hear of people every day overdosing on drugs.

-- Posted by bigfella on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 6:42 PM

I like many others am a graduate of GHS. Let me be NOT the first to state there was a drug problem WAAAAAAY before Mr.Church EVER even thought about coming to this school! In fact, i was informed by my parent that when he was in high school years ago he can recall drugs being an issue back then. I dont understand why people are attacking Mr. Church! It's NOT his responsibility to keep YOUR kids from doing drugs! I can remember a number of boys and some girls who used drugs back when i was there and the ones that i knew of did them before and after school some even in the parking lot....And FYI Mr. Church WASN'T the principal then..

-- Posted by putcoresident on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:45 PM

One question I have yet to see is "Where is Dr. Green". I have spoken to several staff members at GHS and none of them seem to think Dr. Green is involved enough. Seems like since he is the head of the school system he would have had a comment or two for the banner article. Is he out of town? Is he busy with other problems? Is his head stuck in the sand? It's not "Where's Waldo" it is "Where is Dr. Green"

-- Posted by TiredofThisTown on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 9:53 PM

Are you people serious! Drugs are a problem at GHS!!! I am a student there and I see it going on and hear it talked about everyday! I cant sit in a class with out over hearing someone talk about how HIGH they were, or how many pills they take, or how gone they were that night, And the sad thing is that its not going to stop. How many STUDENTS do we have to put in the ground before their parents? People are right it is NOT Mr. Church's fault. He has tried to do everything in his power to stop everything that is going on. You can't fix a problem that is out of your hands! He is not the PARENTS… if you ask me I think it's the parents that need to get their heads out of the sand! I am an A student and have never tried drugs and It just eats me alive to see people on here (STUDENTS) saying there is not a DRUG problem at GHS… ARE YOU BLIND!!! I have seen it with my own eyes! There are pill is people lockers, in there pockets, in their cars, they take them on the bus. For god sake there was a student that OD in school! Come on Greencastle Parents! Wake up and ask your kids what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Okay I am 18 and my mother knows everything I do and everyone one I do it with. I am honest and was raised right…with others comments about allowing players to play their sport, I know for a FACT that Last year over half the boy's basketball team would have tested positive for drug abuse. I don't think its right for those students to get the privilege of even playing when there are others who sit the bench and are like perfect angles when it comes to drugs. Its not just the people who play sports either! Can you not tell me that the students that roam the halls with blood shot eyes and tell everyone I am SO HIGH RIGHT NOW, NO ONE KNOWS WHEN I AM HIGH. It drives me NUTS. Things that do need fixed, are that the teachers just let it slid! You can't tell me you cant SMELL IT, HEAR THEM TALKING ABOUT IT, OR EVEN TELL THERE IS A SLIGHT CHANGE IN THEM DAY TO DAY! Teachers see us everyday!!!! I suggest that teachers need training on how to detect that someone is under the influence

It would be costly to drug test ALL athletes at lease once a month, but I feel it's very necessary.

Not only has this whole thing made Greencastle look bad but the parents in this town!

STOP blaming Mr. Church for your bad parenting skills!

-- Posted by student input on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 10:55 PM

Drug addicts, alcoholics, users, abusers, dealers, cons, liars, manipulators, enablers, let's see who can we blame? How about the DISEASE OF ADDICTION! Our jails and prisons are overcrowded because of this disease, but is help available to them while incarcerated or even when released? From what I understand there's a whole lot of drugs and dealing going on even on the inside of them. In my opinion they learn to be better cons and how to work the system. Unless you are rich or have really good insurance people can't get the help they need, but then you can only help those that are willing to help themselves....everyone has a choice and can blame only themselves for the ones they make.

-- Posted by justanoldhippie on Fri, Jan 18, 2008, at 11:42 PM

We, as parents, have a great responsibility given to us when we bring a child into this world. We try to do the right things. We raise them to the best of our ability, instill the values of right and wrong, and peer pressure will wipe all of that out in a matter of seconds. Your child can look you in the eye and tell you where they are going and who they will be with and it is all a lie. They tell you what you want to hear, and do whatever they want to do. I have two children and both became quite good at lying. My youngest has been on juvenile probation for underage drinking, flunked his drug tests at school, went to counseling and told them what they wanted to hear (while smoking pot the whole time he was in counseling). He then passed out while drunk and had a wreck. He left the scene because he didn't even know that he had crashed. He is now on adult probation. He has slowed down on his drug and alcohol consumption but he still does it. He has friends who are 21; he just turned 20. If you want it, there is a way to get it. Teens and young adults make these choices without thinking of the consequences. Their thinking has not matured. Parents do the best they can and hope their kids will heed their advice, but sometimes they have to learn the hard way. I am sorry for the loss of a fine young man and my heart goes out to his family. I know that many times it could have been my son or one of his friends.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 11:13 AM

water bottles, mint cases,make-up cases,kids find ways to get things into school. I know I would see kids in the lunch room snorting drugs at the luch table's, this being a year or two before the cameras were put in....another place would be when walking into the theatre arts part of the mcnally go to the left there is a area right there to go upstairs...with a vent that blew out kids would smoke there, now things might have changed in the past 5-6 years but that was a easy area to go then.

-- Posted by Zionsville317 on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 11:25 AM

Also, plenty of kids got out of drug testing by not getting a parking pass and parking on the side streets and walking to school rather than using the parking lot.

-- Posted by indtonyc on Sat, Jan 19, 2008, at 11:45 AM

Parents.... Save yourselves a lot of trouble... If your kids get out of line, beat that a**. Ground them, dont be affraid of them. This community is cluttered with under disciplined children and then once they are out of control there is nothing that can be done. If your kid isnt sffraid of you... you are not doing a good job as a parent. And yes.... you can be a good parent/friend to your child as well as being able to put the fear of god into him/her.

-- Posted by concerned3 on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 12:55 AM

concerned3 I agree with you 100% I am a student and I know that if I mess up I am going to have to deal with the consequences of what I have done and then again from my parents! Some of the parents on here are be so naive. its not that they can lie to your face duh we can do that its that YOU as a parent have to make good judgment on weather or not your child is being honest! If you feel they are going to be put in a situation that will harm them or make them pay for what they could be doing in the long run, tell them no! Gosh they will be mad for like 30 minutes and then get over it! You as a parent of any minor have the right to tell them no! I know you want to give your child space, trust, and let them learn for their mistakes but seriously YOU AS PARENTS can make a difference in their life! I am a STUDENT at GHS and I know what its like to be told no! I know what its like to want to go to a party and my parents tell me no! trust me I am completely understanding where they are coming from but if you can honesty tell me your child is smoking pot or taking pills because YOU let them out and they lied that's sad!

-- Posted by student input on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 10:45 AM

For one, "RX Parties?" no one at GHS hold or attends any "RX Parties". these parties involve throwing a shit load of pills in a bowl and randomly taking a handful or two. This is NOT what happened at that party. They were drinking and crushing the individual pills up and snorting them, that does not classify it as an RX party. I am not saying that these type of parties don't happen in greencastle, because im sure there are enough ignorant adults that probably do get together and have RX parties. But I am saying that students at GHS are not dumb enough to attend an RX party. Yes there is a bit of a pill problem in greencastle, as a senior there, I know. But ALOT of the students usually just go out and drink, I can think of at least 3 groups of kids at our school that will go out and drink EVERY weekend, because there friends in college throw parties every weekend. I will also say that I know of a lot of students at GHS who smoke pot also. But I will not get into pot because everyone has their own opinion on that subject (the legality, ect.) As for the high school faculty, I know of several occasions where teaches stand in front of the class where they can hear all the students, and students will basically yell that they are high. Teachers won't do anything, just shrug at the comment, label the student, and go on with their JOB, yes their JOB, teachers DO NOT teach to help students anymore, they teach to make a living to earn $$. Mr. Church IS the best principle GHS has had in a long time, Mr. Hesler SHOULD be forced to resign for unfair treatment, which I HAVE seen in the 4 years I have been at GHS. An example being, A student being caught chewing IN CLASS, in a TOBACCO FREE campus, and being offered a place on the football team, or expulsion, that student SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN GIVEN A CHOICE. While my friend gets expelled for a button pin being a "resin clip" when it was tested clean. All in all, the school has ALOT of problems, and drugs could be considered a bit part of that problem. But just because of this incident Dietrich, everyone os labeling everyone, pointing fingers, and just plain bitching. Look away from your tv and look at the REAL world, half of your BEST friends, and yes im talking to adults also, are probably pot heads. This community is FULL of pot heads. So quit blaming when you let it go on yourself (parents who let their kids have parties and so on.)

-- Posted by RIPDJ on Sun, Jan 20, 2008, at 9:00 PM

If you all would pay attention, you would notice that the main topic has been the county-wide drug problem. We, as adults, have not focused on Greencastle, but the students at Greencastle seem to want to focus on Greencastle. Parents want to believe they have raised their kids right, and when their kids lie to them they believe they are telling the truth- until they find out otherwise. Drugs and alcohol have been a problem in our schools since kids started smoking pot in the 70s. And most kids out here didn't even know about smoking pot until people from Indy starting moving out to smaller towns and their kids were smoking pot. I think drugs are a serious problem in Putnam county and I am sorry someone had to die, but as others have said he made the decision to do it and his friends made the decision to leave him instead of taking him to the hospital. These friends are going to have to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives, and Dietrich's family is going to have to live with the consequences of his actions and the actions of his friends'. If nothing else, maybe, this has been a wake call for the adults and parents in Putnam county.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 10:09 AM

"Be a better parent" your post is so ignorant I felt compelled to respond. Do you think you have some "insightful" comments (and I say that with all sarcasism) that no one else has. It's pretty dam* obvious that things could have occured differently that night. But guess what....Dietrich has already paid the ultimate price for any bad decisions he may have made!!! In what other way do you want to punish him!! And his family has paid the price because he's no longer with them. If you are a parent (or hope to be one) you better hope nothing happens to your kids, whether it's their fault or someone else's fault, after such a sanctimonious comment. If you had read the article detailing what happened that night you would know Dietrich was in no condition to tell his grandmother what happened. He was unconscious 10 minutes after whatever happened at Hoover's house. A state he remained in for the rest of the night while people watched him choking on his own tongue and throwing up. But no one felt compelled to seek medical attention for him, yet they could stop to purchase cigarettes from gas stations and visit girlfriends. Also apparently calling half the school discussing what they should do with the body. Everything but something that made sense, like 911! That's what the outrage is about in these posts. The people arrested broke the law, that's why they are being punished! If you have laws there (like the rest of the US) against providing alcohol to minors, selling drugs, and purchasing RX for distribution, then they are being appropriately punished. As you (so obviously) pointed out, everyone has choices and they had a choice whether or not to provide drugs to a minor and then watch him die. Why don't you try to practice some compassion and leave lecturing to teachers. Sounds like you have a very cold heart.

-- Posted by seekingtruth on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 1:13 PM

I can't believe the parents who let their HS students run freely without curfews. As a parent of two GHS grads, let me just say it was tough (but doable) for me to enforce a stricter curfew time.

I was the "unreasonable" parent as most of my kids friends didn't even have a curfew! My kids were athletic, A students who ran with a "good" group (or so I hoped).

Come on, what is there to do after midnight anyway? Parents, take the responsibility of being a parent and not "the friend". My kids still think I'm pretty okay after the fact!

-- Posted by loanrosh on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 1:51 PM

I have known Mr. Church for over 30 years, I also worked with or for him for the better part of a decade. I can assure you that Jim Church begins and each each day thinking of ways to make his school better for students, faculty and staff. I doubt you will ever have a Principal who cares more about kids.

I suggest that anyone with questions regarding his leadership call his office and make an appointment and spend some time with him. You will then know a little more about the fine human being I am honored to call a fellow educator.

Your school and community has suffered a horrible tragedy. I hope everyone can learn from it and take steps to prevent such events in the future and at the same improve the quality of life for all students in your community. Jim Church is one of the first people I would choose to be involved in the process.

-- Posted by musicman1954 on Mon, Jan 21, 2008, at 7:44 PM

When you post a comment, what does it say directly above the dialog box?? Just Wondering .

And I thank the students for their wonderfull unjudgmental comments. If only we could get some of the people who come on this website to gripe and complain to start standing back and looking at the big picture instead of reading the newspaper and watching CSI Miami.

-- Posted by ihatepplthatwine on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 4:07 AM

i go to greencastle High school and where do you think that kids get the idea to do drugs?/ I think that they get the idea from their family it has nothin to do with our principal or our athletic director. people say that kids use drugs to excape their problems well not all their problems are at school and have to do with their friends. most of kids problems are at home and with their parents. so if they had better lifes at home then maybe they wouldnt do drugs. also if you keep blaming our principal then maybe he will give up on making us a safe school. so STOP critizing him Because i can honestly say that he is the best principal i have seen. and he is doing his best in keeping us safe. so until you have seen him at work dont critize him

-- Posted by blondie14 on Wed, Jan 23, 2008, at 12:03 PM

I graduated in '82 and I must have lived in a pinkbubble then because other than a couple of kids that did drugs, I never knew anything about it. It had to have been there, I just didn't see it.

Now having a teenager that not only went to school in Germany for 4 years while we were stationed there, but also graduated from Junction City High School (junction city ks), there are medal detectors, random locker checks, security guards and at times the dogs are brought in to search. It's a whole different world. A parent can talk to their child, set curfews, and provide the cell phone, still you can't watch your child when they leave your door, you just have to hope that the person's home they go to, has the same values you've instilled. At the same time, your child has to take responsibility for their actions, and know that there is a consequence for their actions. Don't be afraid to ask questions, nothing is off-limits when it comes to your child. I am so sorry to hear that this happened.

-- Posted by ksarmywife on Thu, Jan 24, 2008, at 9:35 PM

While this event is tragic it is hard to understand why we choose to avoid blaming the victim. The blame truly lays in the cold dead hands of a young man who made a terrible decision and those that stepped around him apparently for hours prior to his death. This young man made a poor choice and paid the ultimate price. Unfortunately his family has to pay a high price as well. I can't imagine the grief of a parent losing a child. But pointing the blame anywhere other than where it belongs is just wrong. Shame on those students that were at this party and too selfish to do anything as simple as call 911 in hopes of saving this poor kids life. But in the end the parents, the schools , the police could have done nothing to avert this tragedy. We can't lock our kids up. We teach them everything we can and hope when the time comes they make the right choice. I am truly sorry for this young man and his family.

-- Posted by outsider-lookingin on Fri, Jan 25, 2008, at 8:19 AM

I attend GHS as a 10th grader and i know first hand about most of the weekend parties, after school hang-outs, or late night meeting. i have herd what the news reporters,police,and others have to say about the students at greencastle. i disagree with the vast majority of thoses statments! There is weekend and even few weekdays where there are parties with illegal use of achool,tabacco, and drugs. but i will say that RX parties (like the news channels have been saying) ARE NOT COMMON TO GREENCASTLE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS!!!! Since the lose of my friend Dietrich Jackson there has been rumors of this being a common thing, if that were true would there not been more deaths like dietrichs? its not common in GC infact many of my fellow students have been saying (me included) that the RX party the Dietrich attended was the first alot of us have ever even herd about!

-- Posted by aebannon on Tue, Feb 12, 2008, at 9:54 AM

Hey Seeking the Truth- I am a very compassionate person with a BIG heart! I wouldn't not begin to imagine the pain that Dietrich's family will feel for the rest of their lives and I pray I will never have to feel that pain either! For you to call me ignorant is insane! Dietrich and the other juveniles that night all lied to their parents about whose houses they were spending the night at so before Dietrich left his grandmother's he made a bad decision by lying to her- I never said for him to speak to the grandmother after he was unconscious. (HINT: the words were "where he WOULD be all night" I guess you're the one that can't read!) Before I had put my comment out there no one had said anything about holding Dietrich responsible for his own life! Dietrich had told the driver to take him to Hoover's- had he been there before? I believe so. He knew why he was wanting to go there! I also never said that the adults arrested in the case should not be punished. I guess you assumed I said that? Of course, they should be punished. They have committed crimes! They sold or gave drugs that are prescribed to them to other individuals regardless whether it's to a minor or another adult they should be punished!!! You can't tell me that Dietrich was not intelligent enough to say "NO"! If you can, you're ignorant! I am a teacher person so I guess I can lecture as you say and sadly, I will use Dietrich's death along with the eighth-grader in Terre Haute that died of alcohol poisoning from drinking vodka and Kool-Aid, and countless other articles I read in the paper to lecture my son on making better decisions. I cut these articles out as a reminder to him what may happen if he should make a bad choice! And my whole point was that EVERYONE involved including Dietrich, has some blame for that evening! Unfortunately, Dietrich paid the highest price!

-- Posted by be a better parent on Sat, Mar 8, 2008, at 8:22 PM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: