Federal Way school officials see rise in student alcohol use

FEDERAL WAY -- Retail stores started selling alcohol in Washington last year. Supporters say that helped create jobs and made it easier for consumers to access liquor. Now some worry access may be too good, especially for teenagers.

Federal Way School District officials believe students are behind a number of alcohol thefts, and that the booze is making its way into their schools.

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“It’s a trend we don’t want to see going up. We’re seeing an increase of alcohol use on campus and it’s raising some alarms,” said Vince Blauser, executive director of secondary schools for the Federal Way School District.

Thirty-five Federal Way High School students got busted for drinking at school last year. So far this year, that number is already at 22 and some students aren’t surprised.

“I heard they put it in their drinks at lunch and hide it in their water bottles or keep it in their lockers or bags,” said freshman Andi Jack.

“I’ve seen even freshmen drinking during class,” said Ty Wright.

Last week, the district sent a letter home to parents warning them about the problem.

“It’s definitely alarming, but I’m glad they are getting it out there so us as parents can keep an eye out to make sure our children aren’t involved in that,” said mother Nicole Johnson.

With plenty of older students driving to school, parents say it’s a serious situation.

“I’m concerned for not only their safety, but the safety of everyone who’s attending school. They might be coming and going under the influence. That is very dangerous,” said Johnson.

The district also expelled a student last week from Federal Way High School after they said he brought an unloaded gun to school. He was originally investigated for alcohol possession when school officials found the weapon in his backpack. They said he had no ammunition.