Since 2000, 37 students have been punished for drug and alcohol violations at Norwalk High School.
The Norwalk school board currently is considering a plan to implement drug testing for its students. By law, the only students who are subject to drug testing are those in extracurricular activities and those who drive to school.
The board will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday to review drug-testing information.
Through the 2004-05 school year, violations were relatively stable, in only one year were more than three to five students caught. Then 2005-06 saw no violations, followed by a sudden jump to 14 so far this year.
A majority of the 14 this year are related to two parties over Christmas break. For that reason, Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said, he "wouldn't put a lot of credence in this one number." Such parties could certainly have gone on in previous years, but been unreported.
Student athletes and their parents must agree to be drug and alcohol free in order to participate in sports therefore they can be punished if they are caught with drugs or alcohol even outside of school.
It is usually alcohol among the athletes, Principal Bob Duncan said. Indeed, Jean King, head of the ADAMhs board, has said that alcohol is by far the most frequently abused substance among teens in general.
That a single report can net many student violations is not unusual. Though reports come from parents, coaches, and the police most frequently, when a student is called on the carpet, it often results in another student's name coming up. Students are not doing these things by themselves, Duncan said.
If an athlete is caught in violation, he or she is suspended from the sports season, said Babcanec. However, if the student athlete agrees to have an assessment and cooperate with its recommendations, the students get half the season back.
If the student in violation is not an athlete, he or she is typically suspended with a recommendation for expulsion. If that student will get an assessment and fulfill its recommendations, the student is generally allowed to return to school, Babcanec said.
If the student is caught on campus with drugs or alcohol he or she is usually reported to the police as well. However, Babcanec said, if the violation happened outside of school and was reported by a parent, it probably would not be reported.
School officials are limited in how much they can police students themselves. Though some students are caught on school property with drugs and alcohol, the majority of violations are out of school.
There are educational efforts through health class, and drugs and alcohol are things that "coaches are constantly talking about," Duncan said.
In the end, Duncan, a father of four student athletes at NHS, said, "it takes a lot of people to make sure kids are drug and alcohol free ... and a lot of that responsibility falls on parents."
Norwalk High School Drug and Alcohol Violations
Number of Students 00-01 01-02 02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07
Total 4 7 4 3 5 0 14
Athletes 1* 1 1 3 0 0 8
Non-Athletes 3 6 3 0 5 0 6
% who had assessment 100 100 75 100 100 0 100
% who participated in counseling 100 100 75 100 100 0 100
Alcohol related 3 3 2 3 1 0 8
Drug related 1 4 2 0 4 0 6
*Denied participation due to tobacco incident
Notes: In fall 2003, two athletes were investigated for alcohol violations forwarded by the police, they are not included in this report. Also in fall 2002, one athlete had a second violation of alcohol and due to his senior status could not participate in any more interscholastic sports.