Guidance Counselors: The New Derelicts
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Guidance Counselors: The New Derelicts


If you’re a drug addict or heroin dealer, perhaps you ought to consider a career as a school guidance counselor. I say this because there seems to be a strong connection between helping children and needing to get seriously fucked up.

Severely Misguided

The most recent story suggesting as much is about a Palm Beach, Florida guidance counselor, 46-year-old Angela Mazzocco, whose pixie-like exterior doesn’t quite match that of a woman who would pop a Xanax at 8 am, drive to work and swerve off the road. But that’s what happened before local law enforcement arrested her for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Of course, addiction doesn’t discriminate by race, class, gender, profession or if you look like Rosemary’s Baby era Mia Farrow—powerlessness is powerlessness.

If you think I am being presumptuous to imply that Mazzocco might have a drug problem, let’s examine: while I am sure there are plenty people who feel they need prescription tranquilizers to do their job, non-addicts would probably refrain—or at least be smarter about it. They’re probably not taking benzodiazepines first thing in the morning, chasing them with vodka and driving cars. You don’t have to be super intelligent to know that driving under the influence of Xanax is not a smart move (it even says so on the bottle), and a guidance counselor—someone who is paid to be a good influence on children—is well aware that doing so puts her life, career, reputation and the safety others in danger. So either she is struggling with an addiction or the kids of Palm Beach country schools are reeeeeeeally hard to deal with (possibly both).

Misadventures in Counseling

But either way, there seems to be a very real pattern forming. A couple of years ago, Kelly Scherer, a 36-year old guidance counselor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with possession and intent to distribute heroin. Her customers would park at the Taco Bell down the street from her home and walk over to score. The article doesn’t mention whether Scherer sold heroin to her students, or if she accepted payment in Chalupas, but it did show her photo, which made her look a lot like a mousy school counselor and not like the dealer of a Schedule 1 controlled substance. There was also David Mendelowitz, the well-liked guidance counselor from White Plains, New York, who enjoyed academics almost as much as crack, Viagra and prostitutes—all of which he was eventually busted for, at the ripe age of 58, after a self-admitted 20-year struggle with cocaine.

Here’s Some Advice

What is most baffling about the power of addiction is that uselessness of knowledge in the face of it. You would have to have been living under a rock for the past 15 years not to know that law enforcement everywhere have drastically cracked down on DUI arrests and that if you get busted for a DUI, it will cost you a lot of money. So I say to the guidance counselors out there (and everyone else): next time you decide to pop a pill or take a swig and then get behind the wheel of a car, just know that you are basically putting handcuffs on yourself. In fact, you might as well just quit your job, burn a pile of $10,000 and save yourself the hassle (and headlines).

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.