Sioux Falls, SD
The number of students being arrested in school is going up.
Police in Sioux Falls say drugs, alcohol and tobacco are the usual culprits.
Police arrested 77 students back in 2008. At the time that was an all-time high.
In 2009 and 2010, 61 and 69 arrests were made respectively.
Last year, a record 95 students were arrested on school property and police say part of the reason is that use of synthetic marijuana sky-rocketed in 2011.
Police say the use of synthetic marijuana increased dramatically in just the past six to eight months.
"The reason they've sky-rocketed is because we're seeing more and more cases of kids smoking synthetic marijuana, K2, Spice, whatever brand you want to call it. We've seen more instances of that and that's the reason we're having a spike in the ingesting crimes in schools," Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens said.
22 students were arrested last year for ingesting or inhaling a substance to become intoxicated. Clemens says many people, including adults, believe because they can buy synthetic marijuana that it’s legal.
"Well, you can buy gasoline at the store and that's not illegal either. But when you start huffing it, then it becomes illegal," Clemens said.
25 students were arrested last year for various marijuana-related crimes. That number is up too from the previous years.
Another emerging trend, in just the last two years, school resource officers have arrested four students for using or selling prescription drugs in school.
"That pretty much mimics what's been happening across the nation. Prescription drug use abuse is on the rise," Clemens said.
School resource officers have worked the halls since 1996. While they do make on-campus arrests, they also help protect students, teach classes and build positive relationships.
"It's really been a win for our department, but also the school districts as well, to have officers assigned to the schools," Clemens said.
Since 2008, police have arrested three or four students each year for the use or sale of meth or cocaine.
Alcohol and tobacco arrests fluctuate between 15 to 23 arrests per year.
These numbers are only reflective of the arrests made by school resource officers on school property.