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E.D. TAB: Public School District Survey on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug Free Schools
NCES: 92008
April 1992


Public School District Survey on Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools

The following are highlights from a national survey of over 700 district superintendents. Data are weighted to produce national estimates. Some differences among various types of districts are noted, though this publication does not present all such differences.

  • Nearly all public school districts (97 to 98 percent) have written policies on general discipline and alcohol, drug, and tobacco use (Table 1).
  • Less than 1 year ago, 35 to 38 percent of public school districts significantly changed their alcohol, drug, and tobacco policies (Table 2). Thirty-one percent significantly changed their general discipline policy.
  • Public school principals and teachers were involved in the development of general discipline, alcohol, drug, and tobacco policies in over 90 percent of school districts. Parents were involved in the development of these policies in over 70 percent and students in over 50 percent of school districts (Table 2).
  • A student alcohol, drug, or tobacco use survey has been conducted in the last 2 years by 61 percent of public school districts (Table 1). Fewer districts in the Northeast (39 percent) conducted a survey than in other regions, and fewer small districts (58 percent) than Iarge districts (75 percent) conducted a survey.
  • The average number of hours drug use education was taught in each grade during the 1990- 91 school year ranged from about 14 hours in kindergarten through third grade to about 20 hours in grades 4 through 6 to 21 hours in grades 7 through 9, and to approximately 18 hours in grades 10 through 12 (Table 5).
  • Drug use education is offered in a variety of different ways in public school districts. About 90 percent of districts offered drug use education within the health curriculum, and about 90 percent offered it at special assemblies or events at the elementary, junior high, and senior high school levels (Table 6).
  • Superintendents were asked to indicate what proportion of schools in their district included various components in their drug use education programs/activities. More than 80 percent of public school districts included the following at all schools within the district: teaching students about causes and effects of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use; teaching students to resist peer pressure; school alcohol, drug, and tobacco policies/enforcement; and referrals for counseling and treatment (Table 7). Student drug-testing programs at all schools within the district were reported by only 8 percent of public school districts.
  • Police provided assistance or educational support to a great extent in promoting safe, disciplined, and drug-free schools, according to 42 percent of public school district superintendents (Table 9). About 20 percent indicated that parent groups and social service agencies provided the same level of support.
  • Suspensions because of disruptive behavior occurred on average about 26 times for every 1,000 students per public school district during the fall 1990 semester. On average, there were 2 student transfers to alternative schools for every 1,000 students and 1 expulsion for every 1,000 students during the same time period for disruptive behavior (Table 11).
  • Superintendents were asked to report the number of suspensions, transfers to alternative schools, and expulsions administered for every 1,000 students due to drug use, possession, or sales. There was an average of 1.9 suspensions, 0.4 transfers to alternative schools, and 0.2 expulsions during the fall 1990 semester (Table 12).