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I-Team Exclusive: Students At Two Lower Merion High Schools Videotape Themselves Getting ‘Shmacked’

By Walt Hunter

LOWER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — It’s called getting “Shmacked” – so wasted on booze and drugs you can no longer function – and the video features students at two Lower Merion high Schools.

It’s apparently intended to celebrate the behavior and earn the students $25 t-shirts — so they won’t forget just how “shmacked” they were.

They brag about drinking, waving what appears to be a bag of marijuana, inhaling from a smoke-filled bong, showing bottles in their cars … all the while proclaiming they are “shmacked” – defined by the Urban Dictionary as being so drunk or high you can no longer function.

The images of drinking and drug use are all the more disturbing because most, if not all, of those pictured were students at Lower Merion and Harriton High School when the video was made last spring. One person can be seen staggering down a flight of steps, another breaking out a window.

“They’re drinking, they’re smoking, they’re doing all those things, and they’re proud of it,” says DA Risa Ferman.

Adding to the District Attorney, what is concerning is that much of the activity occurs in or near vehicles.

“They’re wasted, they’re whacked out of their minds, and then they are getting into cars,” Ferman adds.

The creators of the video, which first appeared on YouTube several weeks ago, have made several “shmacked” videos on college campuses and are also offering t-shirts at $25 a piece that read, “I’m Shmacked.” Comments by students and parents in the Lower Merion and Harriton area echoed the District Attorney’s criticisms.

“I think it’s stupid,” one student said.

“I think it’s a bad idea, not a good message,” added another.

“It’s appalling, frightening,” said a parent, while another said, “I’m disappointed. I wish parents would do their jobs.”

The videographers, including a former Lower Merion student who shot the video of classmates, responded to our inquiries via emails that read, in part, “No actual marijuana was used in the video, just synthetic legal buds that are used as props for our film. The alcohol is also just non-alcoholic beverages in other containers.”

“The idea that kids in our community will be walking around in these t-shirts…I hope the schools do something. I hope the parents will stand up and do something about it,” Ferman says.

Shortly after we began making inquiries, the video was taken down from public view without explanation, but other Shmacked videos remained.

The Lower Merion School District sent a letter to all families that reads:

‘Dear Parents/Guardians:

Earlier today, we learned about a company that posts YouTube videos of high school and college students engaged in apparent underage drinking and illegal drug use. One of the videos included footage of current and former LMSD high school students. Though the video is no longer online, we had an opportunity to view it and it was shared with local law enforcement.

The activities depicted in the video are reprehensible and cause for great concern. They include binge drinking, marijuana use, substance-induced violence and several dangerous situations involving drugs and alcohol in vehicles. Though all of the activities occur off campus, and the film appears to have been recorded last summer, it is critical that there are swift and appropriate consequences. Where we have the authority and power to act and respond, we will. We are in the process of notifying parents of students that appear in the video and will do so by Thursday afternoon. We ask for continued parental support in conveying the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.

Additionally, we remind you that there are extensive resources available in our community to address substance abuse issues and addiction. While this information is always shared directly with families whose children are involved in specific incidents, we encourage you to contact your child’s school counselor or any member of the LMSD health services team at (610) 645-1829 for confidential guidance and support if you have any concerns or questions.

The video also serves as a reminder that whether or not your child is engaging in harmful and illegal activities, there may still be significant consequences for attending events where such activities occur. In this age of social media and immediate electronic communication, video and/or photographic images often do not distinguish the “innocent” from the “guilty.” Students that participate in school sports or other competitive activities may face a team suspension even if they haven’t had a sip of beer, but are found to have been “in the room” at a party where alcohol is served. On the line are college acceptances, scholarships and personal reputation. It’s simply not worth the risk.

We trust this troubling incident will serve as a valuable learning experience for our students and families. Our staff is available to support you should you need assistance or guidance in discussing this matter with your child. As you know, our primary concern is ensuring the safety and well-being of all students. We appreciate your ongoing support and dedication to this effort.


Steven Kline
Principal, Harriton High School

Sean Hughes
Principal, Lower Merion High School’

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  • D

    Wanna hear why this is disturbing?
    1) schools have no business disciplining students for actions conducted off-campus. Let the parents and law-enforcement handle it. It has nothing to do with the school’s educational mission whatsoever.

    2) the demonizing of marijuana and alcohol and the ridiculously high drinking age is exactly why American young people feel the need to prove how “cool” they are while in reality making themselves look like ignorant animals that have completely inappropriate attitudes towards substance use. Meanwhile, kids the same age in other countries who have been normalized to alcohol from a young age raise their eyebrows. Humiliating.
    Please tell me that all of these “concerned parents” never once used marijuana or drank underage as young people.

  • nomoreguns


  • steve

    This is probably the worst thing i have ever seen. Good job giving Im Shmacked more publicity but way to use Urban Dictionary as a source. Harriton and Lower Merion will take any excuse to cause a problem and get students in trouble. Let hope this doesnt blow up like the Robins case last year….

  • lynda

    My daughter says this drunken, drug smoking behavior has been going on for many years. It is nothing new except that the “intelligent” kids at these high schools are so dumb to be videotaped.

  • joe

    Isn’t it illegal to film children under 18 to put in a “movie” without their consent and especially their parental consent? The person behind these movies should be getting in trouble for illegally filming children under 18 years old without permission.

  • Mike Brown

    It is ridiculous that the news feels the need to publicize this, but doesn’t mention the great success the Lower Merion Basketball team is having this year, or the excellent academics. In addition these adults seem to think that getting kids in trouble and surrounding them with negative attention will help. I think CBS are the ones who need to grow up.

  • Jax

    So there’s nothing more impotent to cover than this? Come on guys. You have TV time. Make a positive in the world instead of getting a bunch of kids in trouble for drinking. You could have covered something on the homeless in Philadelphia or the high murder rate. Maybe a nice piece on gun control. What did you guys do when you were kids? Play jacks and pickup sticks? Stop cashing in on the fretting soccer moms and go cover news. Also FYI, there are still Americans dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. Way to marginalize their deaths with this waste of time.

    • lynda

      Are you kidding? Your comments are what is wrong with our society today. Focus on the topic here. Stop deflecting from the under age drinking problem & drug use; is it because you support that? ???

  • Joe

    If these videos originated in North Philly there would not even be a story. Since it is happening in Lower Merion it is breaking news. Great job CBS. What’s the next big scoop? Maybe high-school kids speeding, sleeping in, or sex outside of wedlock?

  • Nignogg

    but, but, they should be proud, of that bong, it has a nice addon perc

  • Plumb Stupid

    I don’t mean to offend but these kids look . . . .SCHMACKED!

  • Utzie

    Its high school kids drinking and smoking get over it… got nothing else better to do then make a story over it.

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  • Cody

    This whole article is ignorant. It’s not new information that high school and college kids are drinking and smoking. Also, when did Urban Dictionary become a source of truthful information? This is actually terrible journalism, I feel bad for your company. It’s sad that you’re this desperate for a story.

  • Joey Vertelli

    This is exactly what’s wrong with the media. High school and college students have been doing stuff like this forever and its not going to change. Just because videos can be accessed on the internet now does not mean this should be a news story. I know there’s a lot more interesting and important things happening in Philadelphia. Go find me some real stories people.

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