More kids being suspended for illicit drugs in Richland schools

More kids being suspended for illicit drugs in Richland schools »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. -- KEPR is digging deeper into new information about what's being found in our local school. We're looking at the number of kids expelled or suspended for drugs. It's a topic the districts aren't too interested in talking about.

Lexi Higgs is a freshman at Richland High. She says she's noticed illegal drugs at her school.

"There's a lot of drugs going around and it's a ton of people, and I've noticed my friends are getting into it," said Higgs.

She even knows someone who has been suspended.

"Yeah, I know one person, and he's not a very good influence," said Higgs.

And her story is fitting the trend. KEPR has new numbers from the state which report the number of kids suspended or expelled for illicit drugs in schools for the school year ending in 2013. We discovered the number of drug suspensions in Richland School district has almost doubled since 2011. In Pasco, the numbers remain high - roughly 145 kids every year. In Kennewick, suspensions have dropped, from more than 100 a couple years ago to less than 90 now.

KEPR knows drugs in schools are a big deal to parents, so we tried to reach out to school districts, but we didn't get much response. Richland did get back to us but said the numbers weren't much of a concern, and referred us to a school counselor who never called back. Kennewick had no comment on the numbers. Pasco said they have a zero tolerance for drugs, but also no comment.

KEPR couldn't find out details of how schools are finding drugs or what kind of drugs they're uncovering.

We spoke to one of Lexi's parents, and she said the number of students being caught for drug use in Richland is a huge concern.

"It makes me feel unsettled that it's doubled," said Patty Higgs.

She'll remind her daughter to watch who her friends are.

"Don't be with those people that got involved, because you're not soaring with the eagles when you're with them," said Higgs.

Good advice for any kid.