Pubdate: Sat, 31 Oct 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Kirk Barron


It's been Red Ribbon Week across the country and in local school 
systems, a time for a focused effort to educate kids about drugs. 
It's also a time for instructors and counselors and law enforcement 
personnel to reflect on the state of things.

Red Ribbon Week is most effective in the younger grades before 
students establish bad habits, said Bruce Morton, director of student 
welfare and attendance with the Yuba City Unified School District.

Drugs rarely enter the school system before the fifth grade, and in 
those cases it's often something the student found at home belonging 
to an older sibling who they look up to, Morton said.

In junior high schools, administrators begin seeing more instances of 
children smoking cigarettes in bathrooms, the start of marijuana use 
and alcohol, Morton said.

A growing problem is e-cigarettes or vape pens, said Tracy 
Hutchinson, a probation and school success officer with the Yuba 
County Sheriff's Department at McKenney Intermediate School in Marysville.

"We have already seen e-cigs or vape pens in four or five incidents 
this year," Hutchinson said.

When a student is caught with a prohibited substance at school, they 
are taken with their parents before a special court for juveniles and 
entered into a drug prevention counseling program, Hutchinson said.

By the time students reach high school, their bad habits are often 
entrenched, which is why early intervention and education is so 
important, Morton said.

"By the time we get to them (in high school), they're often long 
gone," Morton said. "You seem more of, 'I'm doing it and I'm not 
going to stop. If I get caught, whatever.'"
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