Drugs, Violence at School Added to C.D.C. Survey

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In a single month, about one in nine of the nation's high school students showed up at school with a weapon.

That is one of the findings among federal data collected for the first time as part of the Youth Risk Behavior survey, which is conducted every other year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly one out of four students had been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug at school during the year preceding the survey.

The national results of the 1993 survey, which polled more than 16,000 students, were released late last month.

The C.D.C. survey quizzed students for the first time about violence-related and drug-related behavior that occurred on school property. The new questions appeared at the request of the National Education Goals Panel, an independent federal body responsible for helping the nation achieve eight goals for education.

The survey data will be used to set a baseline for assessing how well states move toward meeting the goal of having schools that are safe and free of alcohol and drug use.

The survey included figures collected at the state and local levels as well as those offering a national picture.

The goals panel included the state-level results in its 1994 report on the national goals.

'Affected by Violence'

Nationwide, the survey found that male students were more likely than female students to carry a gun, knife, or club to school. It also found that Hispanic students were more likely than white or black students to have been offered, sold, or given an illegal drug.

Of the students who responded to the survey, 4.4 percent said they had missed at least one day of school during the previous 30 days because they felt unsafe at school or in traveling to or from school.

Younger students and black and Hispanic students were more likely to miss school because they felt unsafe, the survey found.

"It does indicate that kids are being affected by violence, not only in school but in communities as well," said Laura Kann of the C.D.C., who was the study's principal author. "It's getting in the way of their education."

Vol. 14, Issue 29

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