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Bullying, Marijuana Major Concerns in Schools

Community members were alarmed by results of a survey on adolescent behaviors.

More students are smoking marijuana and nearly half of middle school kids say they have been bullied, a survey found.

Hopkinton presented on Wednesday night results of the survey, which focused on marijuana and bullying.

“Six percent more Hopkinton High School students are using marijuana now than in 2008,” Vazza said.

Reasons for the increase from 20 percent to 26 percent include “decriminalization along with the faulty thinking that marijuana is not addictive and is not a gateway drug,” Vazza said.

Hopkinton High School Principal Alyson Geary explained how the school is dealing with the problem.

“As far as the school is concerned, the rules haven’t changed,” Geary said. “Having any drugs at the school is punishable by suspension or more. The decriminalization hasn’t affected our rules.”

Geary also said the school started doing searches in May with police K-9 units. Geary said no drugs were found in the first search, but the school and the are planning different ways to search that may be more productive.

The second portion of the night was focused on the physical, sexual and mental health of the students. Wellness Coordinator Danielle Petrucci presented data that showed a high level of physical activity in Hopkinton compared to the MetroWest region as well a higher level of condom usage among sexually active high school students.

Petrucci and the audience spent more time discussing the negative aspects of the survey; 47 percent of students reported they have been bullied in the past year.

Petrucci said bullying isn’t always in the form of pushing and shoving. Cyber-bullying is growing immensely, she said.

“Cyber bullying can be harder to control because you don’t always see it,” Petrucci said. “It can happen on Facebook or even when kids are playing online games."

The full presentation is on the Hopkinton Public Schools' website.

Pat Smith December 02, 2011 at 01:55 AM
It's painful to read about this, because my guess is it's much worse than even the surveys indicate. I feel bad for this generation and I worry for the future. Kids have so little supervision and inappropriate behavior is a result. Kids have always rebelled, always bullied, always done things they shouldn't, but I feel that kids today are worse than years past. It's a sad state.
Dana Hall December 03, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Unfortunately I could not attend this meeting, but it concerns me as I have 3 boys in the HS/MS. It would be interesting to know if there were any questions on the survey related to problems in the home. Sometimes drug use is a symptom of other issues in a teens life. It would be interesting to understand issues such as , alcohol & drugs in the home, marital problems, physical or emotional abuse, financial stresses, etc. Sometimes risky behavior is a symptom, not the cause.
Sean O'Donnell December 03, 2011 at 05:29 PM
That was one of the questions addressed at the meeting. The general answer was that the questions asked didn't differentiate between problems at school and problems at home. They discussed trying to be more specific in some areas of the survey when they administer it again so they can learn more about the underlying causes.

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