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Drug testing in schools

Pot, tobacco, alcohol are most used, but other drugs also have parents worried.

April 30, 2010|By Veronica Rocha

When Crescenta Valley High School instituted a voluntary student drug testing program, a district first, for some it was a sign of innovation and progress in addressing a festering problem, but for others, like student Wayne Park, the distinction was dubious.
The 18-year-old high school senior signed up for anonymous testing, but only because he said he has nothing to prove. He doesn’t use drugs, and said most of his peers don’t either.

“I personally hate the drug issue, and it embarrasses me for the school,” Park said.

But a coalition of teachers, parents and Glendale Unified officials have taken a different position after a steady rise in the number of drug-related suspensions and incidents at the school.

“We were noticing more activity in the past several years at Crescenta Valley High School,” said school board President Greg Krikorian.

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Drug, alcohol-related suspensions

At the beginning of the current school year, district officials saw an increase in the number of drug-related suspensions at Crescenta Valley High School, coinciding with more drug use in the area, Deputy Supt. Dick Sheehan said.

Glendale police and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have reported an overall rise in drug use in the Crescenta Valley in the past five years.

At the same time, community concerns about substance abuse among teens and young adults have also intensified.

But for all the attention paid to Crescenta Valley High, the number of drug- and alcohol-related suspensions there dropped from 49 in 2007-08 to 32 in 2008-09, according to district statistics. So far, the number has remained fairly flat, with 33 students suspended for drugs and alcohol this year.

But Glendale High School has experienced a significant increase in drug- and alcohol-related suspensions, from 18 in 2008-09 to 35 this year, according to district statistics.

Most of this year’s suspensions were related to marijuana use or possession, according to Glendale Police Department records. One suspension was related to a student who tried to sell Ecstasy at a dance.

But it’s not just the number of drug-related incidents at Crescenta Valley High that has administrators and parents worried, but the nature of the drugs.

Officials said they have seized marijuana, LSD, Xanax, Ecstasy pills and chemical-based products used for inhaling at Crescenta Valley High — as opposed to the pot-centric Glendale High campus.

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