Windsor High School Assistant Principal Dick Thomas said he’s realistic when looking at the 3 percent dip in the latest survey that measures the use of alcohol and drugs.
Each year Weld County Prevention Partners Team Windsor administers the ACTUALITY survey at the high school, which measures perception about student lifestyle choices, including the use of alcohol and drugs. The results of the survey for 2014 showed that 67 percent of students did not use alcohol within the past 30 days of when the survey was given. In 2013, the percentage was up to 70 percent. In 2012, the data showed that 64 percent of students did not use alcohol on a regular basis or within the past 30 days.
WCPP Team Windsor is a coalition of concerned residents who combat the use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs by Weld County youth, and is a sponsor of the DEFY Street Team, a leadership group of 20 high school students who promote an anti-drinking and drug use message to other students.
“It fluctuates. It’s still good,” Thomas said of the survey results. “The one before that (in 2012) was 64. It went from 64 to 70 and now to 67. To think this thing is not going to fluctuate is not reality. The good thing is that we’re in the high 60s still, which is great. Where I guess I’d be concerned is if it ever got down to 62 I’d say, ‘OK, what’s going on?’ Sixty seven, 68, 70 anywhere in there is really good. I’m still going to celebrate the fact that it’s 67 and it’s high 60s. That’s great.”
Thomas said when the school started the survey, they were told by the research companies that a kid who is a real drinker will have consumed within the last 30 days.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that a kid might not have a drink in the summertime once or twice, but they’re not a regular user,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what the marijuana number came yet this year. I think last year it was 82 percent showed they weren’t using on a regular basis. I didn’t get any figures on that yet.”
Thomas said the ACTUALITY survey has been administered the past six or seven years.
“The first one we ever did was 60 or 61 percent,” Thomas said. “When it went to 70 last year, in reality you always wonder how high can we really get this thing to go? I still think it’s a celebration even though we went from 70 to 67. I’m not going to bank everything on we have to beat last year’s number. As long as we stay at 65 percent or above, that‘s a good majority of our kids that are showing that they’re not drinking on a regular basis, Over two-thirds of our kids are showing that they’re not drinking. As long as we’re over two-thirds, that’s pretty darn good.”
Thomas said he thinks the Windsor-Severance Re-4 School District policy on abusing alcohol and drugs has a lot to do with the numbers.
“Those kids know that in our district if you get caught the first time that’s a five-day suspension. If you get caught a second time at school or a school event and you were under the influence, it’s an automatic expulsion,” Thomas said. “When they get busted the first time we sit down with them and their parents and we say, ‘Do you understand if you come to a game or a school event under the influence again, you will be expelled?’ You try to get that across to them. It’s a huge deterrent, I think, that keeps kids from drinking and smoking marijuana. It has to be.”
“Over two-thirds of our kids are showing that they’re not drinking. As long as we’re over two-thirds, that’s pretty darn good.
Dick Thomas, Windsor assistant principal