Arlington Teens Drinking Less, Joining Fewer Gangs

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2011 at 1:04 pm 3,783 20 Comments

A new survey of Arlington high school and middle school students, cited this morning by the Sun Gazette, shows that certain vices, like drinking, are on the decline.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Arlington students are, in fact, still drinking, joining gangs, smoking pot and carrying weapons in somewhat surprising numbers.

According to the survey, the percentage of 10th and 12th grade students who reported binge drinking in the past month has fallen from 29 percent in 2004 to 22 percent in 2010.

The percentage of middle school and high school students who have carried a weapon in the past month is 10 percent, down from 14 percent six years prior.

The percentage of students who say they’re a member of a gang is down to 3 percent. While lower than the 8 percent of kids who said they were gang members in 2004, the fact that there are an average of three gang members in every four Arlington middle and high school classrooms is still striking.

Bucking the downward trend, the percentage of high school students who reported actually using marijuana recently remained steady 21 percent.

The percentage of students who say their parents would disapprove of marijuana use is 95 percent. If taken literally, that means that one out of every 20 Arlington households doesn’t mind if their kids smoke pot. The percentage of students who say their parents would look down on cigarette use is one percent above the pot figure, at 96 percent.

See the Sun Gazette article for more detailed information.

  • crljones

    Despite the sarcastic tone – I would say that is pretty good news! Among the most encouraging is that fully 95% say their parents disapprove of pot. Regardless of whatever the behaviour these kids engage in – they at least have suitable role models. At a guess, there are many other communities/towns/cities where that would be considered inconceivable (ahhem, California!)

    • G

      I agree, the numbers will never be perfect, and 95% is pretty good considering a certain percentage of the students are expected to lie anyway. But I don’t think ARLnow was being sarcastic, just perfectionist =).

      • Lou

        Sure, some students might lie. On the other hand, some of those parents are being hypocritical about their own habits.

  • Darwin

    More shocking to me is the utter lack of reporting on the fact that wedgies are up almost 400%!

  • Hey children, leave your parent’s smoke alone!

  • JimPB

    The self-reports of hrs of sleep reflect the strong findings about the biology of sleep for adolescents — they get sleepy later and need more hours of sleep NOT being recognized and addressed by later school start times. When this adjustment has been made, even in part, there has been an increase in attentiveness (especially in the first period class) and, more important, a meaningful increase in grades and educational achievement test scores.

    Put learning first. Adjust school start times. (Get sleepy around 11. Need 9 hrs. of sleep. .Awaken at 8. Start school between 9 and 9:30.) Make other adjustments. We’re competing internationally. How the school football team does is irrelevant in that competition; learning is highly relevant.


    * 56 percent of all students surveyed reported getting fewer than eight hours of sleep, which is seen by educators as the minimum needed to be fully functional in school. The trend gets worse as students get older: While 27 percent of sixth-graders reported not getting enough sleep, the figures rose to 50 percent among eighth-graders, 69 percent among 10th-graders and 78 percent among 12th-graders.

    • mehoo

      Thanks for a great observation, Jim.

    • jan

      Old news, so why hasn’t Arlington adjusted HS hours?

  • SA Resident

    ARL NOW’s conclusion is incorrect. This survey was taken by students. 95% of students, not households, responded that the parents would disapprove of pot-smoking. The survey doesn’t tell us what the parents think. Also, only 15% of Arlington households have school-aged children, even fewer with 10th or 12th grade children capable of responding to the survey. You can’t take those results and conclude that 1 in 20 Arlington households thinks that pot-smoking is OK.

    • I suppose it should have been phrased “one in 20 Arlington households with high school-aged children.” Notice, though, that we weren’t saying that was the case in actuality — but it was a conclusion one could draw if taking the survey results literally.

  • Westover

    Are there fewer gangs to join, or fewer kids joining the gangs that are out there?

    • Perhaps both? Maybe there has been a wave of gang mergers? Does anybody know how the gang M&A sector is doing these days?

      But seriously, I have no idea… we were just looking for a convenient way to word the headline.

  • The Dope of South Arlington

    What percentage of Arlington students are illegals?

  • Maxine LUnn

    Did you know that 76.5% of statistics are completely false and misleading.

    • JimPB

      Maxine LUnn — Might it also true that 76.5% of what is written about statistics is completely false and misleading?

      What is the basis for your assertion “that 76.5% of statistics are completely false and misleading.”

      • mehoo

        Jim. It’s a joke.

  • Chad

    87.4% of stats are made up on the spot.

    • JimPB

      Chad — including your assertion?

  • info for thought

    There is still a large number of students who are drinking and smoking pot in school or at school events. I can only guess what they are doing with the free time they have after school or while on break. As for the gangs, the area law enforcement has cracked down on alot of the gangs in the area. Virginia has passed many laws that place more jail if you are a memeber of a gang.

  • Pingback: Bullying Up Slightly in Arlington Public Schools()


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