September 30, 2014

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Amherst parents urged to stay vigilant to spot teens’ risky behavior

Lisa Baker of Bath Police Department shows some of the ways teens can hide marijuana. ANNA MERRIMAN/CHRONICLE

Lisa Baker of Bath Police Department shows some of the ways teens find to hide marijuana. ANNA MERRIMAN/CHRONICLE

AMHERST — In a presentation hosted at Marion L. Steele High School, police officers warned parents and teachers Monday about the risky behavior of teenagers — everything from smoking marijuana to the “cinnamon challenge” and twerking.

“We want you to snoop. We want you to be nosy,” Marcie Mason, youth worker for the Bath and Copley Police departments and juvenile offender diversion program said Monday.

Mason, Copley police Det. Paul Webb and member of the Bath Police Department Lisa Baker held a seminar as part of their series of talks, “Hidden in Plain Sight.” The group travels around Ohio, presenting to parents and school administrators about dangerous teen activity.

The primary focus of the session is specifically on teen marijuana and alcohol use. Mason and Webb explained the uses of various drug paraphernalia, “drug terms” and where teenagers have been known to hide marijuana and alcohol, including in cans of snack food, plastic bottles and — for marijuana — even the lining of dirty underwear.

The group brought along various props like bottles, drug paraphernalia and razors to show parents and teachers what to look for if they suspect a teenager of engaging in dangerous behavior.

“Check the trash,” Webb urged parents, reminding them that teenagers have been known to use typically innocuous items to smoke marijuana.

While most of Monday’s session was focused on teen drug use, the group broached other topics as well from music, various “daredevil” activities and technology.

“They’re putting themselves in dangerous situations by promoting that group,” Mason said of the musical group Insane Clown Posse, which she called “horrific” and “violent.” She encouraged parents to be aware of the music their children are listening to.

Along with violent music and drugs, the group warned parents to watch out for dangerous activities like creating “bottle bombs” — putting Mentos candy into a pop bottle to watch it explode — and the “cinnamon challenge” of eating a handful of cinnamon.

At the end of the 2½-hour session, the group had one lesson to impart on parents: Be watchful.

“Become familiar with your kids’ technology,” Mason said, adding that parents should monitor a teenager’s online activity and set up parental controls on their computers.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.


  • Beth

    Drug and alcohol abuse: yes, let’s address that issue and how we can keep kids informed
    Social medial: okay, sure, let’s make sure kids are safe online
    Music and twerking? Get out of here! Sounds like when people used to say the Elvis and the Beatles were so awful. Every generation has music and dance that the older generation deems morally corrupt. If you tell kids not to listen to their music, they are going to stop listening to you. I know I did with my parents.

  • beety

    Shame on these kids, getting all hopped up on underwear marijuana and twerking to ICP… there goes America….

    • Mark B

      Dont forget the Coke and Mentos ! Seriously ?

      • beety

        And the cinnamon! Lol!

        • Arietta Sullivan

          i just looked up the cinnamon challenge..i never heard of it. i’m trying it lol watch out world i’m..misbehaving.

          • beety

            Just be careful , it can quickly lead to twerking… lol

          • Arietta Sullivan

            lol don’t get me started :)

  • johns62

    wow being I was at this meeting, I amazed at what was chosen to ‘highlight’

    • beety

      Hopefully it was more intelligent than this article.

  • Arietta Sullivan

    like i told my kids..’your friends&their parents can tell you all they want i’m too nosy’..one is a young adult now&one is going to be an adult soon&i must say my nosiness has raised two pretty darn good kids that will make bad decisions here and there but overall,is not&will not be a nuisance to society&to their own lives.the ‘twerking&cinnamon challenge’ is the least of my worries though neither kid has done them cause they both feel..it’s stupid.

  • me101

    Seriously, they addressed the “cinnamon challenge” and a certain music group? I think someone has over exaggerated the point of drugs! Maybe they should have addressed Mario Brothers and leaving all those banana peels in the street, too! They lost so much respect here. And we wonder why drugs are a problem…look for drug use, not excuses!

    • Holly Marie

      I was at this meeting so I am really surprised at what the Chronicle reporter in attendance chose to highlight in this news story. Sure, the cinnamon challenge and twerking were mentioned, but that accounted for about 5 minutes of the 2 1/2 hour presentation. 95% of the presentation was about drugs. I consider myself to be pretty well-informed about drugs and teenagers and even I learned at few things.