‘Why not’

The recent search of Milford High School by five drug-sniffing dogs apparently turned up no drugs.

At first blush, that’s a good thing.

But finding no drugs doesn’t mean that teenagers aren’t using drugs. It just means that, this time, no drugs were found.

Indeed, a memo sent to parents a few days after the search says the results of a student survey show 70 percent reported seeing drugs in school and that supported what community members were saying about the school.

It further promised that the school wold not lessen its vigilence vis a vis drugs which, of course, parents would expect, but it’s good to have it reiterated.

The student survey gave school officials and police a good reason for the search and should give parents great concern. Of course one wonders why, if 70 percent indicated they had seen drugs in the school, none were found on April 29. Were the kids just lucky? It would seem so.

But we have to assume they expected to find something because this was not a small operation. It wasn’t just Milford involved; there were also K9 officers from Belmont, Rochester and Bristol, N.H. as well as a K9 team from Wells, Maine.

That’s serious business and a clear indication that local officials are taking this issue seriously. But how serious is the problem in Milford? It’s impossible to say, but it’s safe to assume that Milford is no more immune to drug problems among teenagers than any other community in New Hampshire.

This is a tough time to be a teen what with a veritable onslaught of messages encouraging them to do things they really ought not to do, drugs being among them. Between social media that often seems to rule teens’ lives and sometimes gut-wrenching cable television movies and shows, some of which send the message that if the Apocolypse isn’t here, it’s coming, kids can get the idea that what they do doesn’t really matter all that much.

Some people can remember the 1950s when teens and, especially, younger kids were worried that the Soviet Union was just waiting for the right time to launch nuclear missles at the United States, so schools held drills in which students hid under their highly flammable wooden desks as if they were heat shields.

The ’60s were rough on teens, too, the message of “Turn on, tune in, drop out,” resonating with many. Every decade carried some scary message — the ’70s were a continuation of Vietnam, the ’80s a call to go crazy making money and snorting coke, the ’90s there was the crazy fear of Y2K and, believe it or not, clowns. In 2001, we had the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Now? If kids aren’t worried about school shootings, we’d be surprised.

It’s always been hard, to a degree, to be a teenager but at least, for many decades, we could assume that our leaders would have our backs and protect us. But who can protect us from a nut with a gun? It’s worrisome to adults and more so to kids.

That is no excuse, of course, to use drugs, except that it is: Some kids figure, “Why not?” because of the world being what it is.

The memo also notes that student is the top priority. Well, safety is also a state of mind, and if kids continue to be bombarded by apocolyptic scenarios and news of more and more shootings, the schools, and parents, have to stand up and answer that “Why not?” with a lot of good reasons.