Alcohol and tobacco suspensions double in Pasco School District

Alcohol and tobacco suspensions double in Pasco School District
PASCO, Wash. -- A new state report shows that alcohol and tobacco suspensions have gone up in the Pasco School District.

Genaro Yzaguirre has lived across from Pasco High School for almost 20 years. His two kids are Bulldog grads, and he's concerned about his youngest one now there.

"I think in the school itself, there should be more of observation from faculty to keep an eye that that ain't going around in the parking lots," said Yzaguirre.

KEPR spoke to the Pasco School District this week. They said they do have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol. Even so, year after year, student suspensions for alcohol and tobacco are continually rising.

Pasco had 13 alcohol and tobacco suspensions in the 2009-2010 school year, but since then the numbers have more doubled and remained that way. Meanwhile, Kennewick and Richland have both seen a decrease.

"I am concerned about that, but that's up to the district, to do a job that they need to, to do whatever they need to do to get it controlled," said Yzaguirre.

In a statement, the Pasco School District said, "The district supports and continues to expand programs that identify why students are engaging in inappropriate behavior and then to provide them with the resources they need to make better choices." The district didn't provide KEPR with any concrete examples.

Genaro is upset, but he's still optimistic about the school district.

"I'm happy with the Pasco School District up to this point. Three kids through this high school, and, like I said, I'm really proud of what they've accomplished," he said.

Where other districts have gone to the extent of expelling students for alcohol and tobacco use, the Pasco School District says they have not needed to take that action in the past three years.