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schools_drugs_120Everybody knows drugs are in our schools.  In a sense the less you hear about it, the worse the problem actually is.  School Superintendent Stephen Grimm told the Board Of Education and the public Monday that the Lansing schools are facing the problem head-on.

"We've always known that drugs are everywhere in every school," Grimm said.  "I want to commend (High School Principal) Hartz, our high school principal, for the way he is pursuing the code of conduct, and his attitude related to drugs.  Before I got here I could find (evidence of) very few disciplinary consequences -- superintendent's hearings -- related to drugs.  We had a few the first year I was here, and in the last year and a half we've had over 20.  I think that's a testament to his ability to find drugs, and also to the trust that he is building with the community of students and teachers -- that he is someone that can be trusted with the information that leads to those discoveries."

Grimm pointed to a 2008 youth survey in which school children were asked about the presence of drugs in the schools and their own drug use.  The survey was taken anonymously to get as honest a response as possible so the district could gauge the extent of the problem in Lansing.

"It was eye-opening for some people to see how candid our kids were about that," Grimm said.  "We conducted another survey this past fall, and we're going to start looking at it longitudinally."

Grimm also told the board that the district works with local police, state police, and the Sheriff and Probation Departments to make sure the drug problem is appropriately addressed. He said part of the district's involvement includes helping children recover from bad choices they make on top of the disciplinary piece.

"We've had some issues of neighborhood crime, some burglaries or break-ins, and sometimes they are committed by youth that are making poor choices outside of school," Grimm added.  "We have been working with the police and our youth within the confines of our scope within education law to help those children as well, especially with follow-up.  I want to reassure community members that we do take action on that, and things have changed in the last couple of years, at least in our ability to find drugs and move on it."

Grimm said he wanted to address community concerns about drugs publicly  to make sure that the community at large is aware of the problem and what the schools are doing to address it.

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