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Teacher smokes cannabis with students (dejavu)

By Hempology | June 29, 2007

The Province, BC
28 Jun 2007
Jennifer Saltman


Community In Shock After Arrest Of Longtime Counsellor At Music Festival

LILLOOET – An “awesome” counsellor and teacher at Lillooet Secondary is to appear in court next month, charged with trafficking marijuana.

Don Gordon DeLong, 54, was arrested May 20, after he apparently chaperoned a small group of students to the Virgin music festival at the University of B.C.

Staff-Sgt. Kevin Kenna of the University RCMP confirmed that RCMP officers providing security at the festival arrested DeLong.

The Lillooet News reported that police claimed they spotted DeLong smoking marijuana with two young women. When questioned, the young women allegedly told police they got the marijuana from DeLong.

DeLong was arrested and charged with trafficking a controlled substance.

“It’s just a huge shock,” said parent advisory council chairwoman Laura Rhodes. “To me, I think there’s probably more to the story than what we really know right now.

“He’s a great teacher, he’s awesome actually. He’s always been supportive of the kids and he’s just been an awesome guy.”

Rhodes has two daughters who have graduated from Lillooet Secondary and a son currently attending the school.

“I swear, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve met since I came to Lillooet,” she said.

“On the whole, he’s just been a great member of the community, so what happened is really unfortunate.”

She said that DeLong has been at the school for many years and is well liked.

According to Lillooet Secondary’s website, DeLong was a counsellor and taught career and personal planning, and law.

School District 74 school board chairwoman Valerie Adrian said DeLong is no longer at the school; he had been on leave since the incident and retired on June 22.

Adrian said she doesn’t believe DeLong was planning to retire this year.

“It’s always a disappointment, for me personally as a parent, when I hear things like this,” Adrian said.

“The students loved him and he had a good rapport with the students. When they talked to a counsellor, they really liked to talk to Don.”

On the website, students have given DeLong a positive rating.

“I think Don DeLong is a really good teacher, he teachers [sic] very well and knows his stuff. Thanks for your help all through school,” an anonymous student wrote.

Another wrote, “He is the best.”

Mykle Ludvigsen, communications co-ordinator for the B.C. College of Teachers, said the college is investigating.

“Currently we’re just looking into it — we’re pursuing the information,” Ludvigsen said. “We’re trying to confirm the charges with the [Ministry] of the Attorney-General.”

DeLong is to appear in Richmond Provincial Court July 10.

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