Pubdate: Tue, 13 Feb 2007
Source: Austin Daily Herald, The (MN)
Copyright: 2007 Austin Daily Herald Inc
Author: Lee Bonorden, Austin Daily Herald

District To 'Get Serious' About Drugs

The Austin Independent School District will once again  attempt to 
get serious about drug abuse.

Superintendent Candace Raskin announced Monday night to  the Austin 
Board of Education the district will launch  an offensive against a 
rash of criminal cases involving  drug use by students.

According to Raskin, it will begin with a rare Sunday  evening public 
meeting to discuss the situation.

"We're hoping for a good discussion and to find  out what we are 
doing and what we can do better,"  Raskin said.

The school district is also working with the Minnesota  State High 
School League on its own programming to curb  drug use among teenagers.

The school district has experienced the worst case  scenario this 
school year: students allegedly taking  illegal drugs during school 
hours in a bathroom at  Austin High School.

The students were arrested and are currently awaiting prosecution.

At the start of the school year, the district announced  a 
partnership with the Mower County Chemical Health  Team. It was 
designed to show a short film about drug  use and abuse before the 
start of events in the school  district.

Now, the superintendent said a new two-pronged effort  will be implemented.

After the March 11 meeting (6:30 p.m. that Sunday  evening in 
Knowlton Auditorium at AHS), another part of  the school district's 
offensive will be attempted.

Jean McDermott, Neveln Elementary School principal,  will put into 
action a component of the new  "Character Counts" programming.

According to Raskin, McDermott will work with the  school district's 
coaches to share data about helping  to discourage drug use among teenagers.

The entire school district will be invited to an April  10 showing of 
the film "Start Dreaming."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom