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Arlington Teens Drinking Less, Joining Fewer Gangs

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.

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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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