Education News

A different take on drug expulsions

August 19, 2013

The daily newspaper reports that drug expulsions are up in the Escambia County public schools. Superintendnent Malcolm credits his random drug tests, the drug dog sweeps and his student drug awareness program, “You, me, be drug free!”

When the school district initiated its drug program in 2010, the school board had expelled 72 high school students and 20 in middle schools the previous school year, 2009-10. The next year drug expulsions went down—36 in high schools and 17 in middle schools.

The drug sweeps didn’t find more drugs on the campuses. It would seem that the first year of program would have found more drug-related issues, then the expulsions would fall off in subsequent years.

The opposite is what happened.

The next year, 2011-12, the expulsions decreased 27 high-school and four middle-school. Did the expulsions go down because of the drug sweeps and random testing? Or were there fewer expulsions because it was an election year?

This past school year, 2012-13, the drug-related expulsions are back up above the 2011-12 levels –39 high-schoolers and 19 middle-schoolers. There was one less middle school student expelled than four years ago, which is yet another troubling sign of the deteriorating status of the district’s middle schools.

The random drug tests aren’t finding drugs. The dog sweeps aren’t finding drugs. Yet drug-related expulsions are up. We need a better analysis of the issue that the cursory one offered by the superintendent and his staff.

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