City Schools Rank 2nd in State in Positive Drug Tests
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 • 5:45pm
PATERSON, NJ – For the second year in a row, Paterson Public Schools had the second highest number of students in the state who tested positive for drugs or alcohol in 2011-12.
School officials required 204 students to undergo the tests and 113 of them, or 55.4 percent, turned out to be positive, according to the district’s annual substance abuse report.
Also, the district’s student assistance counselors (SACs) conducted 4,011 interventions during the 2011-12 school year, compared to 10,638 during the 2009-10 year, the report said. The main reason for that drop is that two years ago Paterson Public Schools had 24 SACS, but more than half of them were laid off as part of the 2010 budget cuts. The district now has 11 SACs, according to Kathy Lepore, the head of the Student Assistance Department.
The numbers were present to the Board of Education at its workshop meeting on January 9. Board President Christopher Irving said the district should try to find ways to hire more SACs. “This issue is not one we can take lightly,’’ Irving said.
The total number of positive drug tests actually was lower than the figure for 2010-11, when there were 130 positive results. That was higher than any other year in the past decade, according to data in the district substance abuse report. Last’s year’s number of 113 positives ranked third during the past decade, behind 2010-11 and 2002-03.
Students who underwent testing were in middle school as well as in high school, Lepore said.
Among the substances they tested positive for were marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, Ecstasy, prescription drugs and heroin, the report said.