The following were among actions taken at the Feb. 25 meeting of the Prince George's County Board of Education. For more information, call 952-6005.
DRUG PROBLEM STUDY -- Prompted by the drug-induced death of a Forestville High School football player two weeks ago, board members called on county government, church and school leaders to help them find a way to combat an increasing drug problem in the schools.
Board Chairman Barbara F. Martin said she plans to ask County Executive Parris Glendening for a meeting to discuss the problem. She said she will also write to police officials and area ministers for their input.
Forestville High football star Rico Marshall, 18, died of a cocaine overdose Feb. 13 after reportedly swallowing six chunks of the cocaine derivative crack when approached by police.
In December, Marshall, then 17, was arrested for possession of cocaine. School officials never learned of the arrest because of state laws keeping juvenile cases confidential.
Superintendent John A. Murphy said the schools cannot fight the drug problem without help from outside the system.
The discussion comes as the board is considering amending its Code of Student Conduct by requiring a five-day suspension and counseling for the student and a parent or guardian the first time a student is found possessing or using drugs or alcohol at school. Currently, first-time offenders are suspended for five days, but counseling is not required.
Students can be expelled for distributing the contraband at school or if caught using it a second time.
Board members, some concerned that the procedure for dealing with student drug offenders needs updating, asked the superintendent to develop a list of options they can use when considering student requests to be readmitted to school. Some board members have questioned whether they are getting enough information to make such decisions.
ADMISSIONS TEST -- Elwood Loh, supervisor of testing and evaluation for the county schools, said the system has no specific guidelines on how teachers should prepare middle school students for admission to the county's two science and technology high schools.
Board members Suzanne M. Plogman and Thomas R. Hendershot requested information about whether middle school students were being properly coached on how to take the required admissions exam for Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt and Oxon Hill High School. Admission to the two special programs is competitive, with acceptance generally going to those who score highest on the admissions exam.
Plogman said she and Hendershot received a complaint from a parent who believes eighth-graders at some schools are better prepared for the tests than those at other schools.
Loh told the board that teachers in the system do not instruct students on how to take the admissions test, but rather teach general test-taking skills that can be applied to all standardized tests.