7/31/2014

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Survey: Kids at 2 local schools use more pot, booze than average

Survey: Kids at 2 local schools use more pot, booze than average
SEATTLE -- A new survey shows that students at two Seattle schools are using a "significantly higher" amount of drugs and alcohol than their counterparts around the state, and now parents and teachers want to know why.

Parents with students at Ballard High and Whitman Middle school say the results of a recent survey are discouraging.

An anonymous survey given to students in October shows Ballard and Whitman students are significantly above the state average when it comes to using marijuana and alcohol.

"Awareness is the first step and it's really crucial to understand how we are compared to other communities and the rest of the state," said parent Sarah Kopf.

Kopf and others gathered in Ballard Tuesday night to discuss the results. They asked for the meeting after police made a major pot bust about two weeks ago near the schools.

Police say three men sold marijuana and pot-laced brownies to students from both schools.

"It was obviously a very tragic situation, something that we know is not rampant but something we need to look at is how do kids access drugs and alcohol," said Lisa Sharp with Seattle Public Schools.

The survey also included questions about violence, nutrition and sexual activity.

"I grew up in this town," said parent Sylvia Schweinberger. "I think Ballard's always been kind of a party school, but it seems like it's across the board everywhere."

School district leaders are now trying to figure out why students are abusing drugs and alcohol and how they can stop it.

"We're really trying to look at what's happening in the community and where our gaps lie and what services and resources we can provide to this community," Sharp said.

Ballard High School nurse Meg Wakeman said students sell alcohol to their classmates and drink it at school.

"I've also gotten pretty good at saying, 'You've got rum and you've been drinking vodka,'" she said.

Ultimately, Sharp said the battle has to begin at home.

"Parents are the number one influence on kids' choices, and if we can work with them to learn the risks, learn how to help, then they're going to have a great impact on helping to keep their kids safe and healthy," she said.

Tuesday's meeting focused on Ballard and Whitman, but district-wide survey results will be released in the next couple of weeks.
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