Shannon Silva

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October 23, 2012
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More students at Douglas High


This is in regards to the article "Positive school drug tests up from last year." While there is no disputing the fact that, unfortunately, the percentage of positive tests has increased, the article, as written, gives the impression that Douglas High School has a larger drug problem than the other schools within the district. It is true that DHS had a higher number of positive results but it is also true that they had a much higher number of tests given. When you breakdown the numbers into percentages, although extremely slight, DHS has a lower percentage of positive results than Whittell High. DHS had 437 tests given and nine were positive. That is a percentage of .02059. If you make the assumption that the two refused tests would have resulted in a positive result and use 11 positives with 439 tests given you have a percentage of .02505. Whittell had 197 tests given and five positive results with no refused tests that is a resulting percentage of .02538.

Now you throw CVMS into the mix with their 87 total tests administered with 1 positive and 1 refused again assuming the refused test would have resulted in a positive result totalling 88 administered tests and with 2 positives, the middle school percentage would be .02272. Given the sampling of students tested, it looks to me like all three of these schools have about the same problem. Great job to Pau-Wa-Lu for having all negative results on the 55 tests that were administered. I hope that result would have held had they had a higher sampling of tests administered.

It stands to reason that the greatest number of positive tests would come from DHS given that they had more than double the amount of tests administered than the other high school and a larger population of students. The percentages of the numbers tell more of a story than the numbers themselves. As is the focus of comparing year to year so should the focus be on comparing school to school.

In order to accurately determine that one school has a larger problem than another you need to test every student with in the different programs and not randomly test resulting in some students being tested several times over the course of a year and others not tested at all as is the case right now. Although it has been stated why they dont/cant, the better indication would be a program that tests all of the students regardless of their involvement in extra curriculars as many of the students with drug problems dont participate in school activities at all. But from what I have read in past articles on this subject, that won't or can't be happen.

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The Record Courier Updated Oct 23, 2012 07:34PM Published Oct 23, 2012 07:33PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.