LHS Student Relieved of Leadership Position After Discovery of Cannabis Themed YouTube Channel

Associated Student Body Officer Will Nordvick (12) was relieved of his leadership position after school administrators were made aware of his YouTube channel “WillOG,” which consists mainly of videos in which he consumes cannabis products on-screen and discusses various topics associated with marijuana use.

Nordvick is able to legally use cannabis because he has a medical marijuana card. Recreational marijuana use was recently legalized in California, but without a medical card, the legal age is 21. 

Nordvik was called into Principal Helen Gladden’s office on Feb. 12 and was informed that this activity violated the student leadership code of conduct. The Leadership Code of Conduct states that student leaders should behave in a manner “that is reflective of a positive role model and not detrimental to Leadership.”

Gabe Castro, one of the Leadership teachers, commented saying “we will definitely have to update the code of conduct and the constitution, ’cause there are things that exist today that didn’t ten years ago.” 

Following an internal review of the administration’s initial decision, Nordvick said he was called into another meeting with Administrators and given a final choice: mark his content as only for mature audiences and stop making content in which he actively uses cannabis in the video, or be taken out of the third-trimester Leadership class. 

Nordvick ultimately chose to maintain his channel as-is and leave Leadership. 

According to Nordvick, administrators previously stated that Nordvick wouldn’t be able to participate in Mr.Cowboy, either. This decision was later changed when it was realized that he had not signed a code of conduct that pertained to Mr. Cowboy and therefore could not legally be kept out of that activity. 

LHS administrators declined to comment on the situation, citing privacy concerns over student disciplinary matters. It is illegal for school officials to make public comments that would violate a student’s privacy. 

Describing the events that led to his dismissal from Leadership, Nordvick said, “I was called into the office by Mrs. Gladden and I was sat down at the table and they basically told me that ‘because you have a cannabis-based channel on YouTube… you’re gonna be kicked out of Leadership for Trimester three and if you don’t delete your channel or [make] private all your videos so no one can see it, then you’ll be kicked out of Mr. Cowboy also.’” 

In the following days, a few LHS students, including Nordvik, protested the administration’s decision. A silent protest was conducted at the Dark Rally and a petition, started by LHS student Zoey Bost (12), was circulated to reinstate Nordvick in the Leadership class. 

“What happened to Will is something we should all be concerned about. As students we have rights and to see the school violate them so blatantly was wrong to me. So I started the petition as a way to show the school how many people support Will and am really grateful for all the support it got!” said Bost

According to several sources, this petition was never delivered to administrators.

Although it is true that students have the right to freedom of speech, it is legal for schools to place additional restrictions on speech and behavior for participation in extracurricular activities, including activities like student leadership.

After hearing Nordvick’s description of the incident, a few students have expressed strong feelings about the incident. “I am wholeheartedly on Will’s side and believe the situation has escalated unnecessarily on the admin’s side. What Will was doing was completely legal and not connected with Livermore High School in any way,” said Avni Vachhani (12), who said she felt Nordvick was wronged. “The school district has no right to take away his first amendment rights… What the school is trying to do to him is unconstitutional and completely ridiculous.”

Vachhani continued, “And I just want people to realize that even as a high schooler, we have the power to come together and fight for our rights. The first amendment protects our freedom of speech and expression and the school, therefore, has absolutely no right to take action on Will’s expression outside of campus. We’re citizens of the US and we have the same rights as everyone else in the country.”

Blake Burrell (12) also said he felt that the administration went too far in their decision to drop Nordvick from Leadership. “I just think what happened to Will was a complete overreaction,” Burrell said. “I have known him my whole life and smoking hasn’t affected his capability as an academic student and certainly not as a leader.”

According to administrators, LHS will be adapting the school’s constitution to address social media behavior,  use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis products, and other issues to “modernize” the code of conduct. They will also create a similar code of conduct for Mr. Cowboy participants.