Alcohol-Related Suspensions Dwindling at Hamilton
The school district is seeing a decrease in the amount of suspensions related to alcohol compared to years previous.
The DPI just released information about the 2010-11 school year, and only three students in the district were suspended for incidents dealing with alcohol. That’s the same number of students as the year before, but more than 20 less than the 2007-08 school year.
And according to district spokeswoman Denise Lindberg, the school’s new Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse program may have something to do with it.
“This is great news," Lindberg said. “We do have a new AODA program that was implemented, so the results could be because of that.”
Along with the new curriculum, Hamilton Athletic Director Michael Gosz believes extracurricular activities at the school play an extremely important role in students staying clean.
He thinks sense of responsibility on the court and field may play a big part in the shrinking number of suspensions. With off-season practices and a stronger bond with coaches, students might be wondering if the suspension, or even expulsion, is worth getting caught with booze.
“I strongly believe it has to do with two things,” Gosz wrote in an email. “Teachers we hire who also coach (are) able to develop a strong relationship with our kids. (Second), the off-season training that our athletes now are involved in is not worth the risk of getting caught. They have invested too much, and to have this taken away by making a poor choice is not worth the risk.”
Gosz credits the students’ “commitment and dedication” to Hamilton sports as one of the reasons for the drop in disciplinary actions.
“Our rates are pretty low in comparison to other schools, but expulsions are usually related to kids who make bad decisions related to alcohol or drugs.”
The district also saw a drop in the number of students suspended for drug-related violations — from 26 in 2009-10 to 13 last school year.
And while substance abuse seems to be shrinking at Hamilton, drugs are also the most common reasons for Hamilton expulsions. In the past four years, 10 students have been expelled, and according to Lindberg, it’s usually due to illegal substances.
“Our rates are pretty low in comparison to other schools, but expulsions are usually related to kids who make bad decisions related to alcohol or drugs,” Lindberg explained. “It’s really important to have a safe environment for our kids, so we do not tolerate any type of possession.”
Other reasons for suspensions during the 2010-11 school year included, for the first time in years, possession of a dangerous weapon. Three students were disciplined for possessing a weapon on campus, and while it wasn’t a gun, schools can’t divulge any more information.
“Those are like, private files,” Lindberg said. “Student discipline files are generally protected by privacy.”
Here are Department of Public Instruction numbers on suspensions and expulsions in the district: