Updated Project Proposal/General Update

So today I had my first interview-yay! But a little nerve racking.  I hate the recorders we have to use because they’re all fancy shmancy and I can tell it intimidated my interviewee a little.  Also, I had apparently neglected to mention that I would be recording her at all so maybe that’s what threw her off.  After a little hesitation, she agreed to be recorded and the interview went pretty well!  I had a great list of questions I had ready for her, most of which she answered. Those she didn’t answer were ones that she was not sure of, in other words, she didn’t know.  Based on this interview, I got a pretty good idea of where my project is heading and where I want it to head.  One thing I found very interesting (and fantastic) is that WJCC schools used to have a 0 tolerance drug policy but they have since changed that to what my interviewee called “abeyance,” which essentially means that (depending on the case) if a student is found to have drugs on his/her person at school, they will be suspended for 10 days and recommended for treatment at the Bacon Street center and, providing certain expectations are met, will be allowed to return to school.  I was really happy to hear this because I think it addresses the issue rather than trying to eliminate it.  In other words, instead of expelling the student, which could result in a disrupted education and do more harm than good, the school system will address the issue of substance abuse the way it should be addressed: with proper treatment.  {side note: I wish our government would see it that way.}

Anyway, my research proposal hasn’t changed much, I still want to examine substance abuse in the schools.  Based on what I have learned from online and in-person resources, I want to examine the types of programs that are in place to curb substance abuse.  Are the schools addressing drugs and alcohol in a preemptive way? Is it working? Also, I am going to try to talk to a student who has been through the process. I expect this will be quite difficult but I hope conditions of anonymity will encourage the student (and his/her family) to speak out on their experience.  I think there is often a disparity between what officials are saying is happening, and what is actually happening.  Hopefully that is not the case but I will try to find that out with my research.

Sources I have used so far that have proven enormously helpful are the WJCC school website where I found a discipline handbook that sets forth a comprehensive disciplinary structure, including substance abuse, and also a document that lists the duties of school social workers.  So far, WJCC schools seem very accessible and transparent, which is always good!

I hope to get in touch with school officials such as assistant principals, school counselors, maybe even teachers.  My first interviewee gave me some information on potential people to talk to and I even set an appointment with another person in that office to interview next week! It looks like officials are willing to talk and are proud of the work they do.  Hopefully I can get in a few more interviews before Spring Break next Friday.

Happy Friday everyone!

1 Response to “Updated Project Proposal/General Update”


  1. 1 sgglos March 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Allegedly, there was a big survey done of HS students and their drug use/awareness a couple of years ago. I’m sure it was in the news (Va Gaz. I can tell you more about what I know of it when I see you. Keep working on honing your research questions.

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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