Tobacco & Alcohol suspensions are mixed in Yakima County

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- The number of kids in trouble for drinking or smoking was down in schools across Yakima County. Suspensions fell overall. However, that's not the case for individual districts.

For teens, peer pressure to do the wrong thing is almost everywhere. That's why West Valley High student like Lexi Rudnick took a stand against it. She joined a club called Students Against Destructive Decisions.

"It's helped me learn the consequences and what drugs and alcohol and what peer pressure can do to you and I don't want that to happen to me," said Lexi.

Students can only join the club if they've taken the class on the subject first. Members then share what they learned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol with elementary school students. Emily Krienke hopes to change lives.

"Now that I know what it does to your body, and I know about peer pressure and how to avoid it and stuff, I don't want to do it at all," said Emily.

Students at West Valley High told KIMA they started handing out applications for the Jr. High students last week and you must have at least three teacher recommendations and write an essay in order to be considered to join SADD.

Despite this added in focus in West Valley, the number of tobacco suspensions increased slightly there last school year. Yakima saw a significant increase while Selah's suspensions dropped by almost two-thirds. Yakima also saw a big jump in alcohol suspensions. Sunnyside and West Valley showed the most improvement locally.

Lexi saw all of this as reason to keep sharing her experience.

"I think I've helped stop a couple of people and we're friends with the people at the high school too and I think that's helped," said Lexi.

They're on a mission to change one life at a time by making peer pressure work in their favor. The Yakima School District has a drug and alcohol-free awareness week on every one of its campuses. The schedule varies by school.