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Discipline Study Released

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According to a recent survey conducted by the National Catholic Educational Association (ncea), Catholic-school students and principals agree somewhat on the most serious discipline problems facing Catholic students, but disagree on how much help the principals are providing.

Roughly half of the principals and students listed cheating as a problem. Neither group considered marijuana or other drugs much of a problem in elementary schools. Students identified smoking and drinking and "serious depression" as more significant problems than did teachers.

Use of marijuana, drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes was much greater among secondary-school students. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed reported smoking marijuana almost every day; 18 percent "use drugs (mostly pills)" almost every day; 79 percent drink beer or liquor at least once a month; and 89 percent smoke every day.

The principals and students agreed that students watch too much television, suffer from parental pressure to get high grades, and feel a need to "play a school sport to be somebody."

Almost three times as many principals as students felt that students face "serious family problems," and almost twice as many felt that the students need counseling on sexual conduct. And principals perceived their guidance as being stronger than the students did. For example, nine of 10 principals said they gave students counseling on smoking during class time. Only three of 10 students said this happened.

The survey, "Contemporary Youth Concerns," is based on a random sample of Catholic principals and selected 7th graders and 11th graders. In the sample group of 439 grade schools and 313 high schools, 43 percent of the grade schools and 57 percent of the high schools responded. ncea officials attributed the low response to the unpopularity of the subject matter in the survey. "Some principals complained that the content was not appropriate for grade schools," according to Momentum--ncea's magazine which discusses the survey in a forthcoming issue.--A.H.

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