Some 59 elementary school students in Philadelphia have been involved in drug or alcohol incidents since September 2004, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Officials acknowledge that the problem involving young students is growing. Thirty-three of the cases were reported this academic year, compared with 26 for all of 2004-05. During the week of March 6 alone, five incidents were reported, ranging from a third grader with a $5 bag of marijuana to a sixth grader with suspected crack. “The problem of children getting their hands on drugs or having access to drugs is growing and needs to be addressed,” said Paul Vallas, Philadelphia school CEO.
Drugs find their way into suburban schools, too. The Pennsylvania Department of Education says 10 youngsters at eight suburban schools were tied to drugs or alcohol during the 2003-04 academic year. Schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are required to report drug and alcohol cases to the state for all ages, along with all violence incidents.