Did you know that every year, right inside our Bay area schools, hundreds of drugs are confiscated?
In Hillsborough schools alone, there were 537 incidents of drug possession last year.
“That is nuts. That is uncomfortable and crazy,” said Shawn Alleman, parent of a 12-year-old girl.
‘Something needs to be done,’ said Alleman.
When it comes to Manatee County schools, there were 87 drug possession referrals last year. Pasco County Schools had 177, while there were 361 in Polk County schools and 483 incidents in Pinellas County.
“Unfortunately, whatever goes into society goes into our schools,” said Alleman.
Pinellas County Schools Police Chief Rick Stelljes says the drugs can be found not only in high schools but even in middle schools.
“Unfortunately, several years ago marijuana came back strongly. We see more marijuana than anything else,” he said.
Stelljas says school resource officers do their best to spread anti-drug messages but parents can also help.
“Parents need to be there for their kids, monitor social media, know who their friends are and what they’re doing with friends on a nightly and daily basis,” said Stelljes.
“It’s a big deal,” said Marvin Coleman of Operation Par, an organization that provides integrated addiction and mental health services for all ages He says one drug case in schools is one too many.
“A lot of parents don’t think it will happen to their child,” said Coleman.
He says more can be done with in the school system to get the anti-drug message across, but parents need to help as well.:
“Don’t wait for schools to educate your children,” he advised.
A closer look at the numbers for local school districts:
Incidents of Drug Possession, Use, or Under the Influence:
2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 2013-14
Pinellas County: 101 483 575 640
Polk County: 40 361 408 398
Pasco County: 18 177 214 191
Manatee County: 12 87 75 92
Hillsborough Co: 78 537
(© 2016 WTSP)