The youngsters' schooltime use of marijuana should be viewed within the context of their pervasive behavioral and academic problems. Most of the group met their friends early in the morning in order to get high before starting the day. Smoking continued throughout the day, intensified during lunch hour, and often resulted in the youngster's not going back in the afternoon. Those who cut afternoon classes would often meet friends near the school grounds to continue their smoking during the late afternoon hours.
For those who had at one time done well in school, the onset of heavy marijuana use tended to coincide with a withdrawal from scholastic and athletic competition. One young man with an excellent school record and test scores that placed him in the 98th percentile among high school students in the nation, began in the 9th grade to find competition intolerable, gave up all attempts at academic success, and became a "pothead."
Given the degree of difficulty these adolescents had in functioning in a regular high school environment, it is not surprising that most had serious problems remaining in and graduating from high school. Several were repeating grades they had failed with little hope of ever graduating.
For many of these youngsters, instead of being a way-station between childhood and adulthood, high school seemed to one degree or another to represent a dead end.