School Dilemma (not what you think)

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by culinarian247, Mar 23, 2003.

  1. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    What duty do I have to report drug ab/use to my instructor? Is this even my business? A person is coming to class "loaded". He's a decent kid and I don't want to see him get hurt in the kitchen while he's high. I've told him that he shouldn't come to class that way and he just shrugged me off. No matter how stupid I think drug use is, I don't want him to injur himself. He has to realize that he poses a hazard not only to himself but also to his fellow classmates, namely me. I really can use the advice of the CT'ers. You've all managed to steer me pretty straight.

    Thank you very much in advance........
     
  2. echo

    echo

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    My honest opinion? Unless you're in very immediate and serious danger from this person's behaviour, I wouldn't say anything to anyone in a position of authority about it. The theory being that people like that will eventually weed themselves out; they don't need your help in that department.

    If whistle blowing is unavoidable, I'd blow it on the behaviour and not the drugs. "X is loud and disruptive.", or "X is careless with their knives and is a danger to others.", etc.

    That's my two cents, anyway.

    -Echo
     
  3. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Does the instructor not SEE?!?!?!? Well, maybe not. So yes, you should say something. Absolutely. Imagine if this guy got through school and ended up working with or for you. :eek: Or anyone else, for that matter.

    I want to echo Echo (sorry, couldn't help myself :D) -- you should point out the disruptive/dangerous behavior to the instructor. That's really all you have to go on, anyway. What I mean is, you don't know whether it's drugs (illicit or a bad reaction to prescription), or alcohol, or something else entirely. All you know for sure is that the guy poses a menace to himself and others. Bringing the problem to the attention of someone in authority in that way is not ratting on him. It's helping to save him, and yourself and others.
     
  4. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    Thanks for the advice, mom. One thing though: I do in fact know it's drugs (illegal). He told me he got high right before class. That's why I asked him to not do it before school. If it helps, he uses marijuana.
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I say leave it alone, unless of course it really affects the class. If he's really being disruptive then have a talk with some of your classmates and see if they concur. Then bring it up to the proper authorities.

    Your first lesson in labor law: Never accuse someone of doing anything illegal. If the person loses their job or place in school you may be sued for libel.

    I see this as a character building opportunity for you. You need to develop the mental fortitude (some of us call it thick skin) to not let things like this bother you. Be aware, but develop the self confidence to know that you're not going to let this get in the way of your personal development. Don't waste your efforts in getting him kicked out of class or whatever, concentrate on your Cumberland sauce.

    You need to get over this. You're stronger than this.

    Kuan
     
  6. jim berman

    jim berman

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    Sticky place to be. I see both Suzanne & Kuan's perspectives. On one hand you can get yourself into a 'pickle' by putting somebody's character on trial. On the other hand, dangerous behavior can be a liability to everybody.
    So, I would ask... what would be the course of action in a place of business? If you were a co-worker of somebody with a substance abuse problem, would you got to a manager? If so, what would that do to the work place? If you don't, do you have an ethical responsibility?
    Then there is the whole legal arena with which to contend. For instance, in some states, if you acknowledge somebody's substance abuse problem, as a company you can obligated to offer that person time off for counseling and treatment. And if you don't offer that opportunity, you can be held liable!
    I didn't answer your question, but, perhaps have given you a bit more to ponder. Keep us posted.
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Kuan and Jim: if you were a passenger in a car, and you noticed that the person driving was starting to fall asleep, would you just pray that there was no car coming at you from the opposite direction, and no ravine on either side? Would you want to discuss waking the driver with the other riders before doing anything? Or would you say or do something to wake the driver, then and there, before you went off the road?

    If the guy is messing up in class because he's smoking, then his behavior IN CLASS is probably not in accordance with the school's standards. I said Jeff should bring his in-class behavior to his instructor's attention; not the reason for that behavior. That's for the instructor to investigate and deal with. It's not a question of "putting somebody's character on trial." It's literally preventing a serious accident from happening.
     
  8. pattycake

    pattycake

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    For what it's worth, I went to my instructor when I was in culinary school some years ago, and pointed out a serious health infraction one of the students had engaged in..(dropped an entire pan of pate on the filthy meat fab floor, scraped it back into the pan, and baked it..to be served in the restaurant), and was rewarded with a one letter drop in my grade and told it was none of my business. (the pate got cooked and served..)I know this isn't drug use, but it was still a very serious problem. I never spoke out about anything else like that again.
    Also, a few of the students who went to school with me also had obvious drug problems, but none of them made it through to finish..If you have an advisor, or an instructor you trust, perhaps you could open up to him or her. Good luck, and keep your distance from that person in class.
     
  9. katew

    katew

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    WTF? You are alerting someone of a potentially hazardous situation and you are punished? True, most students who are not in it 100% don't make it through, but what about the ones who do? Imagine your guilt if one day you do not tell someone of an unsanitary act, or dangerous situation and people end up getting hurt, or killed. I would continue to tell people if you see such things happen again because I would rather have a lowered grade or a dismissal from a job on my conscience rather than someone's sickness or death.
     
  10. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I'll try to simplify my points and not get too long winded.

    1. It's admirable that you care about others and are willing to risk embarassment to help.

    BUT:

    2. Have you ever smoked pot? I think your reactions are more fear based then experienced based. Pots effects are similar to having a coctail. It loosens them up, but doesn't make them black-out. Only inexperienced pot smokers loose body co-ordination.

    3. If their behavour is dangerous, that should be apparent to everyone in the class. I think your fear of them being dangerous to others is an over reaction based on lack of experience of the effects of this particular drug. This is a school situation..........how I'd handle this in a working enviroment would be different depending upon if and how it effected me and others.


    4. Why did this person tell you this? Anyone I've known with a serious drug habit has never told strangers of their actions. They hide their drug additions very well. Their paranoid fears of getting caught usually makes them avoid dangerous situtations (I'm talking about pot abusers, not alchol). Most of them act more "normal" when stoned then straight because being stoned is their "normal". When their straight, their usually crabby and not very pleasant. Being stoned can be similar to them as taking legal drugs like prozak, believe it or not, they abuse pot because it helps them function.

    (I believe (based on what you wrote) this is just a young person experimenting and looking for kinship with others. Sometimes people need friends and having a joint together is like someone asking to have a drink together. If it's a serious addiction for them, believe me others much closer (then you are to them) will be the only people who can influence help upon them. Getting someone kicked out of school could do them more harm in the long run. Many people that do drugs seriously, have very very low self-esteam, they need to be helped emotionally not hurt or embarassed. Going to school could be their road out.)
     
  11. anneke

    anneke

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    If it's a novice cook wielding a 10" knife, then YES!

    Think of safety first. Don't wait for an accident to happen. If this guy is harmless, then suck it up. If he's a danger to you, himself or others, then talk to the teacher without naming names, just to assess what reaction you can expect. I'm sure there's a diplomatic solution to your dilemma.
     
  12. holydiver

    holydiver

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    Well unfortunately drug and alcohol use are overlooked and almost promoted in this biz. I have tried to fire people who were smoking crack in my past job and was seen as the bad guy so there you go lol...
     
  13. echo

    echo

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    I'm with you on everything else, except this point. As a bit of background (not to be mistaken for bragging), I smoked far more than my fair share during my highschool days, and in my experience, the effects of the "drug" (it's a dried plant, c'mon) on the individual vary depending on on the potency of the pot in question and the smoker's tolerance. Tolerance with marijuana, as you're probably aware, is a funny thing; it works in reverse. More "experienced" smokers tend to experience greater highs.

    That said, I never really trusted myself to operate a motor vehicle after I'd smoked up because it *did* affect my motor skills enough to make me feel unsafe. I'd have the same reservations about waving around a ten inch length of razor sharp steel under the "influence".

    Though just because I don't think I could handle it doesn't mean the next person couldn't.
     
  14. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Echo, you just confirmed what I wrote earily. When stoned you didn't take risks (although I admit there's some p. smoker that might).....but for MOST, the drug gives them enough parinoid thoughts they don't usually take risks. Your worst fear should be them not moving to assist you, because their "lost".

    Their reactions are slow/dulled, but I can't think your doing that many life threatening operations in class.......I don't know........(no I wouldn't risk my life on them, but is that what your really doing in class regularly?)

    Handling a knive.....their not going to cut you, there more likely to forget where they put it and spend all day searching! Serious smokers can handle themselves far better then you could detect even using very potent stuff. They are far more likely to sit down, talk too much or munch out when their really stoned then do anything that takes effort like cutting something or someone.

    Again, this person braging about smoking is most likely a harmless student experimenting. Making a mistake that probably shouldn't effect their whole life.

    I'd worry more about people who hurt others. I think pot smokers tend to be the most passive people around, only hurting themselves.
     
  15. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    So going by what you just stated I do nothing? Wait until he "accidentally" lops off a finger of his or can't remember to walk with the knife pointed down when he turns to ask me something? Am I really doing him a favor by remaining silent? OK I request another station. The chef asks me why and I say...............? You think because I never smoked pot that I don't know what happens to them. I don't nor do I care to. I recognize dangerous behavior when I see it. How bad am I going to feel when he's deglazing a hot pan with wine from the bottle and it ignites? I'll feel terrible if he gets hurt and I could have prevented it. Yes he could make it through the semester without incident and be just fine.

    Well I will have a talk (again) with him after class. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  16. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I see both sides of this situation. There could be serious legal issues if you accuse this guy of being doped up at school and he gets ''the boot''. You also risk the wrath of the chef, who may think that you are trying to do his job, by playing supervisor. On the other hand, if you can go to the chef and cite concrete examples of improper behavior, technique, etc. you may point the chef in the right direction to watching this kid and catching him. If this chef has spent much time in the industry, outside of school, chances are he has seen, engaged or had to deal with such behavior, and will tune in to it with just a gentle nudge.

    If you stay in this industry for long, you will have to deal with this kind of thing many more times. This business has a long history of drug use and abuse, and not just in lower class restaurants. Some of the hottest, trendiest restaurants I knew in Chicago had kitchens full of dopers and alcoholics, from the chef on down.
     
  17. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Again, I'm not condoning anyones drug use. But I still think you need to look at a slightly bigger view. I'm asking you to consider choosing your battles more carefully. Nothing is fair, safe or equal in professional kitchen or in general-, life.

    The person who's over worked and tired makes just as many bad judgements as a drugie. Personally, I tend to move too quickly and if you get in my space with-out me knowing, I'm a danger to you. "what if's" are miles long in kitchens, the daily reality of most kitchens would paralize you, if this worries you.

    You've made a judgement about this person that may or may not be true. Your there to learn to be a chef, not a cop. Let the people in charge be the police. You can't prevent someone who doesn't care about hurting themself, from hurting themselves. But you can help give them reasons why they shouldn't, reasons to try; thru positive interactions.
     
  18. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    You're absolutely right, W. It isn't my intention to get him removed from the program. I like the kid and see it as possible dumb youth experimentation. If I tell the chef he could get the boot. Not the way to go. I somehow have to get him to concentrate on class.
     
  19. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Wow, that was a fast turn around.

    If you have the time and really do care, show them some interest.

    If they're good at something, they might have a reason to straighten out.
     
  20. culinarian247

    culinarian247

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    I wouldn't call it a turnaround; as it was never my desire to have him removed from class. I am getting ticked off at his lack of respect for the kitchen. Like I said, we shall see how this unfolds this week in class.