Drug Suspensions on the Rise in Petaluma Schools

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The kids are all high. And the school wants to know why.

    School officials in Petaluma are drawing attention to a disturbing trend -- more students than ever, from junior high to walking the graduation walk their senior year of high school, are getting suspended for the use of illegal drugs, reported Petaluma360.com.

    In particular, more students than ever before are getting busted with marijuana. This is probably not much of a surprise, considering the local industry supporting the Sonoma County town -- it's adjacent to the so-called Emerald Triangle, California's legal pot-producing region -- but school administrators want solid answers, not conjecture.

    "'Why the increase?' is the question we're asking ourselves right now," said Dave Rose, a Petaluma City Schools administrator responsible for drug enforcement. "This increase could be due to a variety of things."

    There's actually been a decrease in marijuana related suspensions for high schoolers -- dropping to 68 from 101 from 2009-2010 to 2010-2011, according to the data. But nine more junior high students -- 26 as opposed to 17 -- were suspended for marijuana this year compared to last.

    Eight students were suspended for drugs in middle school in Petaluma in 2006-2007, according to the data. But by the time they got to high school -- in 2009-2010 -- 118 high schoolers were suspended for drugs, compared to 46 in 2006-2007.

    “Many young students are bringing medical marijuana to campuses. These students have a lower threshold of judgment, and often use marijuana to attract other students' attention,” Rose said. “Many of these students have never had behavioral problems before."