District Explores Ways to Prevent Drug Use

District Explores Ways to Prevent Drug Use
Posted by FoM on February 14, 2000 at 13:43:45 PT
By Chris G. Denina
Source: Los Angeles Times
Recent survey shows 79% of students will have used drugs or alcohol by their senior year.   At $3,000 each, drug-sniffing dogs may be out of the question for Medea Creek Middle and Oak Park High schools.   At roughly $50,000 each, six new full-time counselors -- one for each school in the Oak Park Unified School District -- may also be just wishful thinking. 
  But no matter what the cost, the results of a recent survey of students' drug and alcohol use have the district's Safe Kids Task Force looking for any way possible to keep drugs and violence out of the classroom.   Based on the results of the survey, the task force offered a list of suggestions on how to curb drug use in schools, which included the drug-sniffing dogs and counselors. However, issues such as cost and students' rights make such recommendations unlikely, officials said.   The school board will review the results of the survey and the recommendations from the task force at the district's meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The board meets in the presentation room of Oak Park High School, 889 N. Kanan Road.   The survey shows about 2% of the 11th-graders surveyed said they had used cocaine. About 29% had used marijuana. And 79% had used alcohol.   Another 78% of 11th-graders said they thought it was easy to get alcohol, 61% said the same about marijuana and 11% said that about cocaine. About 15% of the 11th-graders said they had been either drunk or high on school grounds.   "The numbers are pretty average for the nation," said task force co-chair Millie Andress, who is also director of special projects for the district and principal of Oak View High School. "They're not much higher, maybe a little lower. But it's still surprising for a small district like Oak Park. It's not like we're talking 13% of 14,000 kids. We're talking about 13% of 1,400 kids."   The survey was taken last spring, but it wasn't until now that a task force for the district has made recommendations on what to do.   The key, Andress said, is not bringing dogs to schools to sniff lockers and backpacks, but instead to institute preventive measures. Some suggestions that would cost much less include hiring Action, a nonprofit counseling service, to offer help to students, and instituting character education and conflict resolution at each school.   After the Columbine High School shootings last spring, local districts have focused more on prevention. The survey given last spring was the first of what Andress said should be an annual event. Students completed another survey in January.   "The recent scares, especially with Columbine and the other school shootings, have kind of shaken Oak Park High School from its little haven," said David Guo, 17, who is a student member of the board of education and a senior at Oak Park High School.   While it's not likely that dogs will be coming to campus, Andress said, the fact that it was suggested seemed a little drastic to David.   "It's good we want to keep the kids safe, and maybe I just like to see Oak Park as the best place on Earth, but I don't see the need for them," David said.   Board member Jim Kalember had a different view.   "We're not claiming to be immune from drugs," Kalember said. "We have no control over what happens when students walk off campus."   Question Box:   Prevention Opinions?   What do you think schools should do to curb drug and alcohol useby students?Call our Readers Hotline at (805) 496-0469 or send e-mail to cvourtimes earthlink.netBe sure to include your name and daytime phone number (for verification purposes only.) Oak ParkMonday, February 14, 2000 Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times CannabisNews DARE & Drug Abuse Prevention News Articles:
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