(06/14/2008)
By Bob Weaver

How Calhoun middle and high school students use alcohol, marijuana and tobacco, or have experienced behaviors that lead to violence, have been published in a PRIDE survey being released to county school officials and a local Substance Abuse Team.

Calhoun's PRIDE survey was briefly reviewed this week by a county Substance Abuse Team, looking at the anonymous self-reported data from grades 7-12

About 275 students who had parental consent participated in the 2008 survey conducted in May.

The report is confidential until it can be reviewed by the Calhoun County Board of Education, according to CM-HS principal Karen Kirby.

The survey asked questions regarding risky behavior that lead to violence, including threatening behavior toward another student, being hurt at school, participating in a gang, carrying a gun on or off school property, getting in trouble with the police, thoughts of suicide, or just being afraid.

Under No Child Left Behind, school systems are required to establish a uniform management and information reporting system.

The PRIDE surveys have been used by more than 8,000 school systems, with a lie-detection system built into the survey to exclude dishonest answers.

PRIDE Survey developers say communities often ask "What are we going to do about the school's drug problem," when the surveys indicate that drug use is more likely to occur at home, on weeknights and weekends.

Still, in many communities, the blame is sometimes shifted to the use being a problem that lies within a school system.

PRIDE coordinator Shari Johnson said "It is a family and community problem."

The PRIDE program also engages students on how to share the message of drug prevention to their peers, according to Johnson.


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