The principal at Roosevelt High School is going public after seeing an increase in drug and alcohol problems at the school.
Principal Brian Vance sent home a letter warning parents of the issue, informing them that discipline incidents have doubled in the last year and that the freshman class accounts for half those numbers.
"Last year between September and the end of January, we suspended about 12 students for being in possession or under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” said Vance. “And this year it's 24 students.”
Vance wasn’t alone in stating this isn't a problem limited to Roosevelt. It's just that he has decided to go public with it. He wants parents and students to be more aware of what's going on at the school and how to stop it.
"I don't believe it's necessarily worse,” said 18-year-old Mallory Morgan, who is a Roosevelt student. “I believe these kids are irresponsible and are blatant about what they do. They come to school drunk and high and they're not afraid to show it.”
A coalition of parents, teachers and healthcare workers called Prevention WINS has been trying to tackle this very problem in northeast Seattle schools.
A statewide Healthy Youth Survey from 2010 to 2012, Roosevelt High School tenth graders had increases in alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug use, despite seeing decreases in the previous four years. Other schools like Nathan Hale High School and even Eckstein Middle School saw increases as well.
Some students say it's not just access, but acceptance. Social media and pop culture encourage it.
"A lot of celebrities are coming out and making it seem like ‘Molly’ and acid and marijuana are things that are fun, and that normal people do and it's just a part of life,” said 17-year-old Justice Kurihara.
Vance is inviting an expert from Children's Hospital to the school to talk with parents and kids about the effects of drugs on health brain development. Next Friday, March 21, all freshmen will be watching a student film called “Recovery,” which shows students struggling with drug addiction.