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Decatur superintendent concerned about student drinking, smoking

A recent survey conducted by the Georgia Department of Education reveals that Decatur High School students, beginning with their sophomore year, are drinking and smoking well above the national and state rates.

For instance, on the question on if a student took “at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days,” 45 percent of DHS seniors said yes compared to the state’s 22 percent and the national 35 percent.

“I’m not discounting any of this data,” Superintendent David Dude said. “I’m definitely concerned. To me it looks like it’s a little more than just high schoolers being high schoolers.”

On using marijuana at least once in 30 days, 29 percent of DHS seniors said yes, compared to the state’s 14 percent. On binge drinking in the past 30 days, 27 percent of DHS seniors said yes, compared to 12 percent for the state.

If the numbers are higher than recent years, the overall prevalence of “risky behavior” among Decatur High students is not according to many observers. What is new is that the school’s PTA is in the process of organizing a “Decatur Parents Network” to tackle the issue, largely through social media.

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