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San Mateo children, drugs and school safety

By Aaron Kinney
Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 12:58 pm in Aaron Kinney, Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County.

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There were some interesting tidbits in the San Mateo County Children’s Report 2007, a study of children’s health and wellness that was presented Dec. 4 to the Board of Supervisors.

Did you know that, from 2004-2006, 11th graders in San Mateo County “were more likely than their counterparts in California to report use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes” within the last 30 days?

During that period, statistics show that by the 11th grade “41 percent of students reported having consumed alcohol in the previous month, 21 percent reported having smoked marijuana and 18 percent reported having smoked cigarettes.”

Maybe they’re just more honest than most California 11th graders?

Dr. Scott Morrow, the county’s chief health officer, said the county is making good progress on cigarettes and other substances and pointed us to individual drug statistics, saying they paint a brighter picture.

Well, let’s see. In the 2004-2006 survey, 93 percent 11th graders reported that they had not smoked marijuana on school property within the past 30 days. That’s good.

On the other hand, 48 percent of 11th graders said their perception was that it would be “very easy” to obtain marijuana if they were so inclined.

For those interested in looking at the information themselves, it’s available online here.

Elsewhere in the children’s report among the positive findings was the statement that “59 percent of youth surveyed in the county report that they feel safe at school.”

That actually struck the Insider as low. Morrow explained that there is a vast difference, unfortunately, between schools in affluent and downtrodden areas. Those in good school districts generally feel quite safe, he said, while those in troubled or impoverished areas feel less secure.

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