SCHS coach resigns following drug arrest

Sandy Creek High School teacher Andrew Parlagreco resigned last month after being charged in Cherokee County in July with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

A resident of Canton, Parlagreco was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and a headlight violation in Cherokee County on July 21, according to media reports.

Parlagreco was intended to be the head boys soccer coach at Sandy Creek for the upcoming season that begins in January.

Fayette County School System records show that Parlagreco was hired as a substitute teacher in October 2006 and later worked at Burch Elementary School, Crabapple Elementary School and Braelinn Elementary School as a physical education teacher.

Parlagreco worked as a health and physical education teacher at Fayette Middle School from 2009-2013 and had started at Sandy Creek in August teaching physical education and health.

Parlagreco also coached girls soccer at McIntosh High School last year an dpreviously coached softball and wrestling at Fayette Middle School.

He resigned on Sept. 11.

fc1989
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iRonin

Www.gapsc.com/Rules/Current/Ethics/505-6-.01.pdf

I would think that iRonin ( Ronin was a great movie) especially would realize that the teacher did the honorable thing and resigned since he apparently violated the PSC code of ethics linked above. The first standard is following the law and specifies possession of marijuanna. Isnt that what the Ronin did when they failed at their code .?

The point is that he did violate the standard that he agreed to uphold.

iRonin
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Actually...

They were supposed to kill themselves... Seppuku. I'm sure we're not advocating that are we? ;-)

I understand this argument well, and it's a variation on the "regardless of right/wrong it's illegal and so he deserves these consequences". The other responder hits the nail on the head... You'd throw away a potentially better teacher, replace them with an inferior one that has better conformity skills. Further, you'd do that swap because of marijuana. Not for an alcoholic. Not a prescription pill junkie. (Both would have to do something further to violate that contract). It's no coincidence that the contract (and the Georgia Code) both awkwardly approach marijauana (the language of the contract... controlled substances AND marijuana... this implies that marijuana isn't a controlled substance, though regulated by the controlled substances act. It gets separate, lesser punishments. It's a sign that the method of regulation just doesn't get on all fours with any real platform.

There have been at least TWO no-knock warrants executed in Fayette County that resulted in misdemeanor marijuana arrests (both were later thrown out, and appealed by the Solicitor's Office, resulting in Appeals decisions). Those are high-risk situations that have had very public lethal consequences for both officers and suspects. How far do we push the war? How many people is it okay to kill to stop marijuana consumption? How many people should lose jobs over it? How many people should be arrested for it? Incarcerated for it? 42% of America has tried it. If you want law enforcement to catch bad guys, assume that the aim is to catch all 42% when they first do it. Give 42% of America probation. Give 42% of America a history. Give a portion of that 42% diminished job prospects. A very very small portion of that 42% (like Kathryn Johnston) go ahead and kill them.

And then I come to this comment thread and I see people very comfortable with this concept, for whatever reason. And it makes me sad. Just seems like a ridiculous reason to wish all those very real, very difficult consequences on 42% of America.

apatheticjester
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Nobody is arguing about his contract.

The problem is that a minor offense like this leads to society throwing away a career educator who may be exemplary in all aspects of his job.

iRonin
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I'm horrified

I'm absolutely horrified reading these comments.

No one would care if he had a six pack of beer, or a handle of liquor in his car. You'd rather have a potentially alcoholic teacher than one that likes to smoke weed? That's mind blowing to me.

Of course, many of you don't want a teacher that consumes any foreign substances that has a physical or psychological effect on the body. Except coffee. Except prescription drugs (which pose a far greater health problem in our society than marijuana use... plenty of RX overdose deaths). Except vitamins. What you're really saying is that you expect your teacher to be a teetotaler. You simply don't want them consuming what you TELL them they cannot. You're not even basing it on the science either (see previous comment about prescription drugs).

Some of you take issue with the fact that he's not obeying the law. Neither are you (think about ANY traffic violation you've ever had). At least the teetotalers are less hypocritical. You don't want the teacher's merit examined. You want him gone because regardless of whether the law is good or bad, you have to follow it. Except everyone would think you're a nutcase if you wanted him fired the headlight violation. Here's a fun fact: in Georgia, YOUR speeding ticket carries just as high of a penalty as marijuana possession: up to 12 months in jail. And yet, no one in this forum thinks that's a proper ground for firing a teacher. Of course, there's a subgroup in here that thinks they can confine this position only to marijuana because of the subculture it can generate (and I'll grant there are very few unifying elements from the headlight violators of the world... though it may get a little murkier with speeders and other traffic laws). This is the product of propaganda. There is ample anecdotal and scientific evidence that shows plenty of successful professional people can consume marijuana. There are lawyers and doctors out there, RIGHT NOW, smoking weed that aren't sitting around playing the bongos naked. They're out there getting stuff done. 42% of Americans have tried it. Over 50% of the population supports decriminalization. It's not because they feel the need to unleash the hippies on God's people (or whatever the hell it is you people fear). None of this even begins to take issue with the morality of the law itself (as the argument is constructed to avoid that critique) but really... you have no place calling yourself "small government" if you continue to favor criminalization of a substance that is empirically less destructive than alcohol and pills (the state of Georgia spends on average 15 million/year dealing with just possession offenders at the prison level, meaning >1 ounce of marijuana... that says nothing of the costs the county bears (of which they pay all and collect most from fines) by enforcing the marijuana prohibition.

The third group thinks that teachers are a special class because of their relationship with our children. Hard to dispute that teachers can make an impact on children's lives. I offer two rebuttals on this point: 1.) As the parent your influence should supersede all others... I hope you don't expect to be able to simply remove from your child's life all influences that aren't perceived as overwhelmingly good. If that's the case you shouldn't let your child use the computer, watch TV, play videogames or read books (these are the same people that want American classic "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" banned from schools because the kids can't ever know that racism exists). 2.) Why would you let teachers consume alcohol if that's the case? Because it's legal? So he can influence to be drunks (legal) but not a professional (teacher) that smokes weed? He can get any legal drug (like some synthetic marijaua or experimental psychoactives all legal) and that's ok to influence your kids about? Got it. Sounds like a fine kid you're making there.

Almost barely even worth mentioning but someone below equivocated marijuana to the synthetic marijuana: what are YOU smoking? Here's a statistic for you: there have been ZERO marijuana overdose deaths. EVER. Statistically NOTHING. Is that a good enough distinction for you? (Oh and hey, that synthetic stuff is legal... some isn't but a good deal of it is).

This thread horrifies me. The policies and mindset of the people making these comments seem grossly misinformed or blindly ignorant. Please read up on the cost of the drug war; what it costs to the accused and cost to society. Think about what it means to demand this teacher resign. For what? For what he decided to put into his body? We don't like it so have some probation and lose your job? No victim. No pain caused. Sounds like he was driving home to get high. I get that it's illegal and the law deserves some respect, but it's time to change this law. It's changed in other states. If you lived in Colorado or Washington, and he got arrested for a headlight violation only, would you still want him fired? If the hypothetical greatest teacher in the world was caught possessing marijuana, should he be fired? Man/Woman who touched the lives of thousands of kids, bringing additional charity, compassion, ambition, and intelligence to generations... Would you fire him?

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Agree about a lot in your comments..

And the public sentiment is changing in many regards...the liquor/beer comments hit home to me, as it is obvious that many just choose to go with the double standard and must still be believing the "Reefer Madness".

Husband and Fat...
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Horrified?

I don't care what someone does on their own time. Just don't get arrested. He was stopped due to a headlight violation and the officer had probable cause to search. End of story.

His contract with the school most likely has a clause in it about illegal drugs. End of story.

There are plenty of careers that don't require drug tests or contracts that dictate behaviors. He'll land on his feet

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You don't seriously believe

You don't seriously believe that because you've committed a headlight violation that an officer can search your car do you?

And while it may be the "End of Story" for you, but for many of us, there's more to do here. We're not talking in the descriptive (i.e. whether he actually had a contract, whether he was actually fired); we're speaking in the normative (whether those things ought to be): a person who consumes marijuana in the privacy of their own home SHOULD NOT be subject to criminal penalties and civil consequences for "illegal" drugs because they carry neither the risk for addiction nor the public health dangers of many already legal drugs, if any at all.

People who have been saying "End of story" are the inertia the precludes ACTUAL change on this policy more than the prohibitionists. Prohibitionists have to just keep the status quo happy and the "End of story" crowd will simply have to erode on it's own (as it has been doing for the past two decades now... perhaps in another two Georgia will overcome it). If the "End of story" people who didn't care what someone does on their own time would call the prohibitionists on their schtick this would already be moot.

Husband and Fat...
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iRonan

Personally, I have no issue if pot is legalized as long as there are laws on the books such as driving while impaired. I don't smoke pot, and don't have any issues with my friends that do. I just choose not to.

There is more to the story than a broken taillight. The cops would not have searched and found anything had there not been probably cause. You and I can both tell when someone is high. My bet is that he was under the influence and the officer could detect it. His lawyer most likely plea-bargained down to the misdemeanor charge and then he came clean to the school.

In places where there are strong teachers unions, I would bet that it may be more difficult to penalize a teacher caught breaking the law during their own time, but here in Georgia, its different and the teachers sign contracts with the county that most likely has strict guidelines.

Until we change the laws in GA, this poor fellow has to live with the choices he made. Nothing was stopping him from making a living, teaching in Colorado.

iRonin
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Then let's change it.
Husband and Father of 2 wrote:

Personally, I have no issue if pot is legalized as long as there are laws on the books such as driving while impaired. I don't smoke pot, and don't have any issues with my friends that do. I just choose not to.

There is more to the story than a broken taillight. The cops would not have searched and found anything had there not been probably cause. You and I can both tell when someone is high. My bet is that he was under the influence and the officer could detect it. His lawyer most likely plea-bargained down to the misdemeanor charge and then he came clean to the school.

In places where there are strong teachers unions, I would bet that it may be more difficult to penalize a teacher caught breaking the law during their own time, but here in Georgia, its different and the teachers sign contracts with the county that most likely has strict guidelines.

Until we change the laws in GA, this poor fellow has to live with the choices he made. Nothing was stopping him from making a living, teaching in Colorado.

I wasn't the one that called the broken taillight the "End of story." I agree there may be more. But you don't know, and it's definitely not a plea bargain because he hasn't pled... He was arrested for misdemeanor pot. And I don't know what police officers you know, but the one's I know would have written citations for every charge they could get... They don't often find a felony amount of marijuana and give them a misdemeanor. Most likely what happened here was that he had a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. I also don't know any cops who wouldn't write a DUI ticket in this case if the evidence warranted it. If the officer could detect it, he'd have been arrested for it.

Ultimately the point here is to change the law. No one that thinks this law is a gross overstepping of government authority ultimately thinks a "go ahead, break the law" strategy will work long-term. That's partly why I'm out here writing these comments. People have to begin to say "Regardless of whether it's illegal or not, he should suffer the consequences.... but it's stupid/harmful/unethical that it's illegal and it's stupid/harmful/unethical to have these consequences." See above... 42% of America has admittedly consumed marijuana. You can't expect 42% of America to move to Colorado and Washington...

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I am with you but listen to what I have to say..

Georgia just last year approved liquor/alcohol sales by the package on Sundays. And not until after 12:30 in the afternoon. Georgia will be in the last group of states to legalize POT....it is just the way it is. And the FEDS, forget it, they have so much work force tied up in enforcement, they will be a long time legalizing too.

I would also say that many employers will still have clauses banning certain behavior, which very well could include POT usage etc....that is also just the way it is.

Ranting about it here doesn't do much, get in touch with your elected Representatives if it means that much....me, it makes sense to legalize, but I just can't get worked up about to do much about it.

YourGoodPalMike
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Never a good idea to flirt with the law if you're a teacher.

Yes, teachers are human.

Yes, the law is too strict about marijuana (it's just a plant that anyone can grow in the back yard...seriously, lift the child-like mental block and look at the big picture. It's a plant. No processing in a lab; no dangerous explosions; no threat to the neighbors. It's a fricken plant).

But one thing that's important is that when you work all day with CHILDREN you really need to hold yourself to a higher standard and be a role model. This means you need to obey the law. Drive the speed limit; pay your taxes; don't smoke marijuana. Just because a law is a bad law doesn't mean you should disregard it.

It should also be a lesson to others who work with kids: The board of education doesn't want marijuana smokers teaching children.

apatheticjester
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Teachers are not paid enough to be held to your standard.

A new teacher can make as little as about 30k with a 4 year degree. How much do you really expect of them?

This is Georgia. Nobody drives the speed limit, tons of people do cash business and cheat taxes, probably like a two serving slice of the population pie smokes weed.

They should not be held to monastic standards.

Husband and Fat...
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Are you serious?

A person making less money should not be held to the same standards as those that make more?

Most of the time, a new teacher fresh out of school is not worth the same as a teacher with 10 years of experience. Its supply and demand.

Let me guess, your a twenty something, smoking weed with some teens, who can't afford to move out of your moms basement.

SX230
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Testing

Time for random drug testing.

Husband and Fat...
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Resign vs. Fired

Why do we let people resign and not fire them? Here we have a teacher arrested in July and probably started teaching in September hoping the misdemeanor charge would not be discovered.

Would have had more respect, had he resigned BEFORE the school year started and before someone discovered the incident.

YourGoodPalMike
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He resigned...

This is much easier and far less expensive to deal with than firing. You have to fight your battles, and this case is not one in which the board probably wanted to fight (very costly).

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Are you kidding me. This

Are you kidding me. This person was a soccer coach at Mcintosh, where we lost a young player due to synthetic marajuana last year . I do not understand why these teachers engage in this behavior . I understand your decision to smoke pot but please don t choose a teaching career if you want to Iive that lifestyle

Newsboy
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Teachers are humans
sfca wrote:

Are you kidding me. This person was a soccer coach at Mcintosh, where we lost a young player due to synthetic marajuana last year . I do not understand why these teachers engage in this behavior . I understand your decision to smoke pot but please don t choose a teaching career if you want to Iive that lifestyle

They are flawed ... just like YOU! Hello? Good lord almighty, how arrogant / ignorant can you be?

GUESS WHAT? Many teachers are also GAY, drink alcohol, engage in extramarital affairs, get divorces, have children out of wedlock, drive over the speed limit, cheat on their income taxes and WEAR PANTS!

This isn't the 1950s anymore!

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Newsboy - So you think it is

Newsboy - So you think it is ok to be a pot head and a teacher?
Frankly I have no problem with a personal decision to smoke pot, - BUT - This is a teacher who taught and coached soccer for a team that lost a child just last year due to smoking Synthetic Pot. Do we really need to argue this point any more?

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Newsboy - So you think it is

Newsboy - So you think it is ok to be a pot head and a teacher?
Frankly I have no problem with a personal decision to smoke pot, - BUT - This is a teacher who taught and coached soccer for a team that lost a child just last year due to smoking Synthetic Pot. Do we really need to argue this point any more?

PTC Observer
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News Flash Newsboy

Don't commit the crime if you unwilling to do the time.

The fact is whether the drug laws are right or wrong, they are still laws.

Don't like'm change them.

apatheticjester
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The county lost a teacher with years of training!

The actual punishment the teacher will face from the law is small. The damage to his career is huge, and disproportionate. It is pure waste on the part of our society to force people to resign from teaching over misdemeanor pot charges. We throw well trained people out of the workforce for trivial stuff every day.

Husband and Fat...
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County Teachers - Please respond

Does the contract you sign each year have any requirement about obeying the law and/or illegal drug use?

apatheticjester
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They are teachers, not a monastic order.

If you had any clue how many public school teachers smoke weed your mind would implode. They just don't get caught. The county has lost a young teacher over a minor drug charge, it isn't right to throw away that kind of talent away over petty things like this. He will probably have to go back to school and pick a new career over this.

Spyglass
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I think it's a requirement at some Colleges for Professors..

Agree, lots of nothing here.

Spyglass
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Synthetic pot is dangerous..

Do not confuse the two. The war on drugs is an absolute failure.

SPQR
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absolute failure+

Its much more than an absolute failure. Its crash and burn with unimaginable and ongoing collateral damage. All we'd have to do is treat addiction as a health issue instead of a crime and we could drastically reduce the size of government.

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SPQR, Drug Addiction & Crime

I must admit that I didn't know addicts were considered criminals--unless they were also pushing and supplying. No fear, I'm sure that Obamacare will fix it all!

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AHG

Mere possession of controlled substances can put you in the slammer. In some places for life. If you have someone in your residence that is apprehended with said substance.L.E.,without due process, can seize all your property.

This is not hypothetical. It happens, and happens, and happens.....

If you have an adult child living in your basement....

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SPQR & Addiction vs Possession

You inferred that addiction is treated as a crime. Addiction and possession (surely a crime), while perhaps linked, are not the same--that was my point.

Spyglass
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In my opinion a crime requires a victim...

Who is the victim in possession?

I think we are chasing ghosts.

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Victim

Who is the victim when you get caught speeding? Don't agree that a victim is needed for a crime to be committed--all an individual has to do to commit a crime is to violate some law. Say goodbye to Caspar!

Spyglass
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Speeding endangers others..so they say..

I say it's the impact or collisions...but I digress.

The simple possession of a so called illegal drug endangers whom, ie who is the victim? Now I'm not talking about getting high and riding around impaired..that is illegal. Is now and should remain so.

We will probably just end up agreeing to disagree that the War on Drugs is a useless waste of monies..and that's OK too.

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Victims

Oh no, I agree that the WOD is a horrible waste of both manpower & dollars. If there was a way to eliminate the profit in dealing or reduce demand perhaps there would be hope--otherwise, not a chance.

Spyglass
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Do we have BEER cartels?

Legalize and move on.

AtHomeGym
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Spyglass & Beer Cartels

Not bythat name but certain states won't let a Brewery distribute directly to a retailer, demanding that it first pass through a Distributor, insuring morefolks get a cut of the profits and most surely that the consumer pays more.

Spyglass
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Georgia is about as strict as they come

In that regard...big money in liquor distribution, IF you can get on that gravy train.

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