I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Drug Policy Results From 2011-2012 Released

In all the hoopla over differential pay and bonuses discussed during this past week's series of meetings and in the press and on social media, an important issue, almost overlooked, was brought back before the board on Thursday.

The 2011-2012 school year in Escambia County marked the first full year of implementing a comprehensive plan to reduce drugs at school that the school board formulated and requested be implemented back in May, 2010.  (Although calls for such a plan had been made for years prior to this May, 2010 meeting to combat rising drug expulsions)

In addition to an awareness  component that is essentially a student-driven "say no to drugs" ad campaign,  drug testing of selected students, a tip line, drug dog searches, and counseling services comprise the main components of the plan.
In the last school year, 400 revolving searches by canines were completed at schools that were randomly selected, but that included multiple visits to all middle and high schools.  Of these searches, canines alerted in 50 instances, which lead to the seizure of....

9 items of contraband.  Also in this last year, a pool of students, all students who participate in extracurricular activities, was established from which a percentage, chosen at random, would undergo drug testing.  Of the samples, 97% of those tested were clean, with no illegal substances in their system.  2.4% tested positive and went through the counseling and other steps necessary to return to their sport/activity.  .3% moved out of the district before they could be tested, and .3% refused to take the drug test.

No figures were given on the data from the student tip line, most likely due to the fact that the tip line is run by the sheriff's office.

No specific data on the counseling of students was given, in order to protect student privacy.

One interesting fact was shared, though;  The very first athlete pulled for testing came back positive.  Apparently, once this individual student was removed from athletic competition--this information moved through the student bodies of ALL schools via social media, and ALL students got the message that this was for real and real consequences were coming.  I believe that incidents like this led to students having a buffer against drug use and a stronger case for saying "no"

...And our drug related expulsions keep going down--which is the ultimate goal of this plan which is working!

1 comment:

Alice Sohn said...

Good work on the drugs, but what about the much greater danger--guns, knives, and other weapons. The dress code prohibits "sagging" pants and "overlong" shirts, supposedly because of weapons students could hide, but they carry book bags, often very large and almost never searched. In my junior and senior classes at Escambia High School, I had gang members in my classes as well as other students with serious anger management problems. Anyone who doubts these students bring weapons to school is dangerously naive. There are signs warning students of possible metal detection searches, but in my five years as a high school teacher in this county, I don't remember one. Please don't wait until a tragic event forces us to action.