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Skelly, Palo Alto City Council, James Keene Subject: PAUSD Opposition To Marijuana Dispensaries in Palo Alto (Measure C) Elected Officials: As you must surely know, advocates for drug legalization in California have managed to successfully place a ballot initiative before the voters of Palo Alto this coming November. To date, the PAUSD, and its elected officials, seem to have been silent on this matter— even though there is considerable evidence in the public domain that students at the PAUSD are involved with illegal drug consumption, and possibly sale of these substances —on and off PAUSD campuses. This year’s so-called “Mental Health Survey”, just released by its authors, provides more than adequate proof of the problems at the PAUSD. The following data, taken from the Gunn High School dataset, has been annotated to draw your attention to the areas that should demonstrate the problems of drug use in the PAUSD— Demographic Data The following two tables are provided from sources other than the “Mental Health Survey”—
Gunn High School 2009-10 Demographics Number Asian 739 White, Not Hispanic 944 Hispanic/Latino 126 Other 35 Total: 1890 Percent 39% 50% 7% 2%
Enrollment By Grade 9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade Total:
Number 448 508 478 478 1912
Alcohol/Drug Use Data The data presented below is from the report (see link at bottom) on Gunn High School. In some cases, the tabular presentation of the data has been slightly reorganized to demonstrate areas of concern, since the categories do, on occasion, include information that is effectively “apples and oranges”. The use of “subtotals” helps to disambiguate the data in those tables, somewhat. The use of RED highlights areas of student alcohol/drug use that should be of concern to all Palo Altans—not just those associated directly with the PAUSD. The use of YELLOW highlights areas of student alcohol/drug use that should be of concern to all Palo Altans—not just those associated directly with the PAUSD.
Student Sample Size Target Sample Final Number Average Response Size
431 386 90%
419 352 84%
Table A4.3 Current Alcohol or Drug Use, Past 30 Days Grade 9 % Alcohol (at least one drink) Binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row) Marijuana Inhalants Cocaine Methamphetamine or any amphetamine Ecstasy, LSD or other psychedelics Other illegal drug or pill (Drugs) Subtotal: Any drug use Heavy drug user Any of the above AOD Use Two or more of the above at the same time 11 4 3 2 1 2 2 1 11 4 3 12 3 Grade 11 % 24 13 13 2 2 1 2 3 23 14 8 27 6 Students
115 62 62 10 10 5 10 14 110 67 38 129
Question HS A.63-71/MS A.52-56: During the past 30 days, on how many days did you use…alcohol…binge drink… marijuana…inhalants…cocaine…methaphetamine or any amphetamine..esctasy, LSD, or other psychedelics…other illegeal drug or pill? na=not asked of middle school students
Note—Using the demographic data above, an additional column been added, which provides the actual number of students involved in these illegal activities.
Table A4.15 Perceived Harm of Frequent Marijuana Use Grade 9 % Marijuana - Smoke Occasionally Great Moderate Slight None Subtotal: Marijuana - Smoke once or twice a week Great Moderate Slight None Subtotal: Grade 11 %
37 30 16 16 62 63 17 8 12 37
25 22 27 26 75 40 26 15 19 60
Question HS A.82-83/MS A.68-69: How much do people risk harming themselves physically and in other ways when they… smoke marijuana occasionally…smoke marijuana once or twice a week?
Note—Notice that there is both a lack of knowledge in Gunn High School students about the harm of marijuana (and presumably harder drugs also). Moreover, this lack of knowledge seems to increase significantly as students progress from Freshmen towards their Senior year.
Table A4.20 Perceived Difficulty of Obtaining Alcohol and Marijuana Grade 11 % 4 5 32 40 72 20
Grade 9 % Alcohol Very difficult Fairly difficult Fairly easy Very easy Subtotal: Don't know Marijuana Very difficult Fairly difficult Fairly easy Very easy Subtotals: Don't know 7 7 27 28 55 31
12 10 20 18 38 39
4 5 29 37 66 25
Question HS A.85-86/MS A.71-72: How difficult is it for students in your grade to get alcohol or marijana if they really want them?
Note—Table A4.20 should be of concern to Palo Altans not interested in having Marijuana Dispensaries legalized in our town. If Marijuana is so easily obtained by PAUSD students now—it will only be easier for them to obtain in the future.
Table A4.21 Offered Illegal Drugs on School Property, Past 12 Months
Grade Grade 9 11 % % 0 times 90 77 1 time 6 7 2 to 3 times 2 7 4 or more times 2 9 Subtotal: 10 23 Question HS A.107/MS A.89: During the past 12 months, how many times on school property have you been offered, sold or given an illegal drug?
Note (1)—Table A4.21 should be of concern to all PAUSD officials, and Staff. If there is any truth in the data provided by this table, then the sale of drugs on the PAUSD campuses is on-going, and pervasive. Yet, no one associated with the Administration seems to be willing to admit to these illegal activities. Note (2)—The follow-up questions below should be added to this survey: A. Who offered you drugs on campus: 1) Staff, 2) Student, 3) Unauthorized Visitor B. Do you believe that drugs are being stored on campus? 1) Yes 2) No
Table A4.23 Heard, Read or Watched any Messages about Not Using Alcohol, Tobacco or Drugs Grade 11 % 87 13
Grade 9 % 85 15
Question HS A 99/MS A.62: During the past 12 months...Have you heard, read or watched any messages about not using alcohol, tobacco, or drugs?
Note—If the students answered truthfully to this question—what in the world is the PAUSD doing to provide at least a token effort to provide information about the problems associated with illegal drug use?
Table A4.24 Used Alcohol, Past 30 days Cells are empty if there are less than 25 respondents. Grade 11 % 25 5
Hispanic or Latino American Indian or Alaska Native Asian Black or African American Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander White 20 Mixed (two or more) races 5 Question HS A.63/MS A.52: During the past 30
Grade 9 % 19
11th Grade Demographics Asian White, Not Hispanic Hispanic/Latino Other
Actual Students 9 69 8 3
Note—Additional data has been added to convert the percentages in Table A4.24 into “real people”. Given that there are differential representations of each ethnic group, the use of “unweighted” percentages makes it difficult to understand just how many students are involved in these activities.
Table A4.25 Used Marijuana, Past 30 days Cells are empty if there are less than 25 respondents. Grade 11 % 19
Hispanic or Latino American Indian or Alaska Native Asian 1 5 Black or African American Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander White 7 21 Mixed (two or more) races 2 17 Question HS A.65/MS A.54: During the past 30 days, on how many days did you smoke marijuana?
Grade 9 % 9
Note—21% of the white student population amounts to about 100 students. Discussion
This survey offers hard evidence of a clear and present problem of drug use by PAUSD students, on and off, the campus. This information has been in the public domain before, but there seems to be little interest in seeing it for what it is—here in Palo Alto. Given that this survey only looks at grades 9 and 11, it stands to reason that grades 10 and 12 would provide more data points that would provide a complete picture of the extent of this problem on the PAUSD campuses, and in the students homes. Questions While there are many, many, questions that should be on people’s minds, from reviewing this data—the following four are offered initially— 1. 2. 3. 4. Why do so many students feel the need to use drugs? Why are female students showing lightly higher drug use than males? Where, and from whom, are students obtaining these drugs? Why are so many students claiming not to have seen, heard, or read, any messages about not using drugs on PAUSD campuses?
Conclusion Given that there was a time that students in the PAUSD didn’t use/sell illegal drugs, it is difficult to understand how the PAUSD Board of Trustees can ignore the data from these surveys. Is it another of those “unwritten taboos” associated with the PAUSD that “we just don’t talk about such things”? The PAUSD Board of Trustees is hereby requested to review all of the data from all of the schools, and then to pass a Resolution opposing Palo Alto Measure C, which would only increase the availability of, and use of, illegal drugs—particularly Marijuana—by students, on and off campus. Wayne Martin Palo Alto, CA www.scribd.com/wmartin46 www.youtube.com/wmartin46 www.twitter.com/wmartin46
PS: Please include this communication in the public record.
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