WASHINGTON: There’s nothing like getting kicked out of school to make a kid start jonesing for some weed.
That’s the implication of a new study published last week in the American Journal of Public Health. The authors found that “students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely than their peers at schools without such policies to use marijuana in the next year.” That result held for the student body as a whole — not just for kids who were suspended.
The study crunched numbers from the International Youth Development Survey, which surveyed representative samples of 7th and 9th grade students in Washington State and Victoria, Australia — two places that are demographically similar, but where schools take drastically different approaches to drug use.
Those approaches are summarized below. “Washington school policies have been more oriented toward total abstinence and more frequently enforced with harsh punishment (such as expulsion or calling law enforcement),” the authors write, “whereas policies in Victoria schools have been more reflective of harm minimization principles.”