The Manteca Unified war on drugs is making progress.
The number of suspensions and expulsions from drug-related incidents on campuses dropped by 39.2 percent in the 2015-2016 school year compared to 2014-2015.
There were 89 drug-related incidents last school year that ended with suspensions and 15 with explosions. In the previous year there were 157 suspensions and 14 explosions.
Based on state data, Manteca Unified student drug issues are on the low side when compared to similar sized school districts in California as well as many nearby districts.
“We take a zero tolerance (toward drugs) as a school district,” Superintendent Jason Messer said.
Suspensions are typical for the possession or use of drugs, tobacco or alcohol. Expulsions primarily involve the sale of drugs or repeat offenders.
Due to the extensive policies and procedures in place to deal with drug-related issues rarely do suspensions and expulsions reach the hearing level as they do in a number of districts as issues and consequences are extensively vetted with parents and guardians.
Some interventions that are provided by district schools are drug awareness class through Point Break Services or counseling at school sites.
The board’s decision last year to step up the use of Interquest, a canine detection agency, to do more random inspections is credited with reducing drugs on campuses.
Messer noted that the detection dogs have helped reduce the presence of drugs, alcoholic beverages and even weapons on school grounds.
The district emphasizes the importance of being drug free at an early age through participation in the national Red Ribbon Week program.
The school board has declared Oct. 23-31 Red Ribbon Week for Manteca Unified.
The theme of this year’s alcohol, tobacco, and other drug as well as violence prevention program is themed You Only Live Once (YOLO).
Students at each campus cerate their own drug free theme for the week that is carried out through various activities.
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