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Arkansas' High School Dropouts - Voluntary and Involuntary - Selected School Districts, 1983-1984

NCJ Number
M Snowden; E Crary Peel D
Date Published
80 pages
Data collected from 14 selected Arkansas school districts on each child who dropped out or was dismissed from school during the 1983-1984 academic year, plus personal interviews with over 200 of these students, provide the basis for analyses of the school dropout problem and students' alcohol and drug use.
Part 1 profiles the extent of the dropout problem, demographic characteristics of students involved, selected characteristics of their families, and reasons for withdrawal or exclusion from school. About 8 percent of the schools' student body either dropped out or were asked to leave at least once during the year. Approximtely 56 percent dropped out and 46 percent were asked to leave. A comparison between student responses and school records suggests that schools were unaware of the extent to which pregnancy, marriage, and economic reasons caused students to leave. Recommendations to reduce absenteeism, reduce suspensions and expulsions, and provide alternative programs are presented. Part 2, based on interviews with 204 students, focuses on drug and alcohol use. Areas discussed are students' attitudes and perceptions of community drug and alcohol problems, reasons for using and not using drugs, sources of drug information, age of first drug or alcohol use, and stress-provoking life experiences. Approximately 9 out of 10 students who dropped out or were asked to leave had used or experimented with a controlled substance. The data suggests that suspended/expelled students were heavier users of controlled substances than were students who dropped out on their own, although causal relationships cannot be established. Tables and survey questionnaires.