Thursday, August 25, 2005

Students Asked to List Peers Suspected of Drug Use

Middle-school students at Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colo., asked to make lists of students who might be using drugs, have called on the Jefferson County school board to investigate the incident, the Denver Post reported Nov. 20.

Jelena Woehr, 16, and Lily Bezuidenhot, 14, told the school board that teachers overreacted to fears that students may be using drugs. The students voiced concern that classmates who were inappropriately named on a list held by school officials could be punished unfairly.

"There's a lot of power in suggestion," Woehr said. "If they say, 'Try and think of someone who is doing drugs,' there is pressure to think of someone."

The action could makes the district vulnerable to lawsuits filed by parents of students whose names appear on the list.

Last year, there was one suspension and three expulsions for drug-related offenses at the school. So far this year, there have been two drug-related suspensions and no expulsions.


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