SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Springfield YMCA is under fire for a controversial flyer handed out about parents smelling like marijuana when picking up their kids.

The flyer that parents received when picking up their children is garnering a lot of attention on social media.

It accuses some parents of picking up their children while reeking of marijuana, and threatens to call the Department of Children and Families on parents who appear to be under the influence.

While they've since issued a retraction, the CEO of the YMCA said the sentiment at the root of this flyer has validity.

The president and CEO of the YMCA of greater Springfield actually read a draft of the controversial marijuana flyer the day before it was sent out.

"I thought, planning to have some discussions about that and wanted to get some confirmation. What are the school system's doing, what is DCF's recommendation," said Dexter Johnson, President and CEO of YMCA greater Springfield.

Somewhere along the way, the encouragement of conversation was misconstrued as encouragment of the flyer's wording ver batim.

"There's just a misunderstanding of whether I meant to wait and get that information before sending something out," Johnson explained.

The flyer's contents didn't mince words, saying YMCA employees "have smelled some of you out" and encouraging parents to do a "smell check" before coming in to pick up their child.


"As soon as I realized it had gone out and that wasn't really the message we were shooting for," Johnson noted.

Johnson spoke with the Executive Director of Youth Development who drafted the first flier to create the message that was intended from the beginning.

"As a mandated reporter for child care, our goal is the safety of children. I think the intention was really to talk about being cautious being impaired which would apply to any substance," Johnson added.

After speaking with DCF, Johnson said the agency clarified their stance on what would require a report of impairment.

"The person I spoke to made it clear that they don't let the smell alone does not indicate impairment and that impairment should be the focus versus simply smell," Johnson continued.

Johnson told Western Mass News that no impairment reports have been filed due to marijuana yet, he said there's a trend that's raising concern.

The retraction was given to parents on Tuesday.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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