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KAUFMAN - His demeanor never revealed it, but Kaufman ISD Superintendent Todd Williams is worried.

He personally met with seventh and eighth graders on Thursday at the district's junior high campus. Friday, Williams is planning meetings with each class at the neighboring high school.

Williams is giving each student a small card with a private tip line phone number, along with his own e-mail address. He's urging students to report drugs on campus confidentially.

Was the drug dog here yesterday? Williams asked a group of middle schoolers. You can expect to see that thing more often.

Kaufman ISD Police have recently seen an alarming increase in students involved with drugs, Williams said.

It's getting to be a pretty big deal, said Chief Debi Nixon, Kaufman ISD Police. We've noticed an increase, after what I would consider a decrease.

Eight students got caught with drugs last school year, she said. But so far this year, 14 have been busted - most with marijuana.

In fact, Nixon added, her officers cited four students on Thursday morning for coming to class high.

This year's incidents are a big number for a small district, and that's what got Williams out of the office and into the schools.

He decided to take a proactive approach after what happened last year.

Six students and a beloved administrator all died separately of various causes, and the superintendent does not want drugs to lead the district down that path again.

We're concerned it could end up in a child dying, which is the worst case scenario, Williams said. But they're making decisions that [are] costing them a lot.

Drugs in schools are a pervasive problem and hardly unique to Kaufman ISD.

But it's an unsettling trend here and getting personal attention from the superintendent who, like many, is in fear of another funeral.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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