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A recent influx of drug expulsions prompted a school council meeting at Jones College Prep on April 12.
“We’ve seen a fairly drastic increase in drug-related expulsions,” said Dr. Joseph Powers, principal at Jones. “More specifically, a huge upsurge within the last year.”
Jones College Prep has seen enough of a drastic increase in drug-related incidents to draw together a new forum composed of parents and teachers. The forum was suggested by parents and wants to generate new ideas to lower drug usage and increase awareness.
“We’re starting with education for parents and students,” said Margaret Brown, the mother of a freshman student at Jones.
She’s one of the parents who suggested the creation of the forum. Brown said she believes there is a lot that can be done to help parents and students better understand what’s expected of them. She wants to create a program that focuses on “positive culture.” This would include educational lessons for students during the school day that focus on resisting drugs, as well as providing free informative literature for parents.
“We have a fairly long arm when it comes to drug control,” Principal Powers said. “Our officers have caught students while coming from and going to school.”
While the school has a say in the disciplinary action taken when a student is involved in the trafficking, usage and possession of drugs on campus, they have no say in what happens on a Saturday night. While Powers views this as a problem, he feels there is very little they can do to change this.
“Officers only take students into custody when they are involved with the usage or possession of drugs while on campus,” said Doug Fraser, the chairman of the local school council.
If a student is using, selling or in possession of drugs on campus, it involves immediate police action and generally ends in expulsion. Jones College Prep has two on-campus officers who are involved with taking care of these issues on a daily basis.
“The problem with BEAT officers off-campus is that they’ll tell the kids to knock it off or throw it away, and that will be the end of it,” said Powers.
He was referring to a recent incident involving three Jones College Prep students that occurred behind a building close to campus. Powers wants stronger disciplinary action to be taken in drug-related issues.
“It may take a while to change what police do, but we can change what we do right now,” said Margaret Brown. She said she hopes that education will help kids to get away from drugs.
Her forum has already met once and is planning to meet again within the next two weeks. The first meeting brought a wave of ideas and propositions about where to go next to cut the rise of drug-use on campus. The group plans on expanding on these proposals in the next meeting.
“We’re going to continue to see a influx in serious drug-related expulsion until we take different action,” Principal Powers said.