Drugs, Alcohol, Children and Schools – Part I – The Problem

Behavioral problems in schools are not a new issue but how we address those problems has evolved and should be discussed.  Peer pressure of humiliation by wearing a dunce cap and corporal punishment have gone to the pages of history books.  Today the issues and causes of behavioral problems in our schools are far more complex than years ago.

Today what was once a school yard fight can lead to real violence physical harm and even death. Today we have substance abuse issues that were virtually unheard of years ago and they are not limited to high school students.  Exposure to drugs and alcohol starts at a young age and often at home.

Children hear mention of these issues on television, in music and on the news.  Too often the association of drugs and alcohol is related to fun, growing up and experiencing new things.  Our comics make it an issue to laugh about, our entertainers treat it like a right of passage and our young people absorb this input as knowledge.

In the 1950’s a teen would begin smoking cigarettes because it made them feel more adult.  Today teens think nothing of trying marijuana “everybody does it” they say, our legislature is even thinking of making it legal.  A Friday night party with alcohol and drugs is pretty standard in the world of the high school “in crowd”.

Some students will mature and live normal lives, some will become addicts that never achieve, never use the potential they were born with, how sad but true.  Living in a small town does not make you immune to these problems it only means they get less press coverage.

There is no newspaper to tell you in the last three school years 20 students from Coventry have been expelled from school and most of those related to issues of alcohol and drugs.  Over 1/3 of the students expelled in Coventry were from the Captain Nathan Hale Middle School.  Last year there were nine expulsions and so far this year another seven.

We can stick our heads in the sand and pretend we do not really have a problem or we can take positive action to bring attention to the problem.  That is not to say our problem is exceptional or more profound than other school systems but these are our kids and every one of them is one of our sons or daughters of this community.  Every one of these students is special to a friend or neighbor and just maybe that person does not have the ability, resources, or interest to help that child, but we as a community should.

The issue is here today to start a discussion on drugs and alcohol and the impact they have on our children.  These are issues that impact a community over the long-term with higher crime, social costs and loss of potential from those faced with addiction.

Today your comments can be part of the conversation, please click on the “Leave a comment” link in the box below.  Many times comments concerning the Opining Quill are made on Facebook but they are not seen by the other readers.  You are encouraged to comment here to get the conversation started for all to see.

Tomorrow:  Drugs, Alcohol, Children and Schools Part II Expulsions

The topic will be about the reaction of the Board of Education to the problem and some of the history of the Expulsion Committee action.




6 responses to “Drugs, Alcohol, Children and Schools – Part I – The Problem

  1. Kristen Bilotta-Brzozowski

    This is all very true and very real. Many choose to ignore or downplay what is really happening around town. We as a community need to provide these kids with outlets, while there are numerous sports oriented things to do, not every kids is into that. How about music, starting a band, including writing lyris , art..super creative outlet for many, a place for kids to go and feel a sense of belonging in a drug free atmosphere. Where are the kids of Coventry? Partying at friends houses…Kids these days need to be challenged and parents need to become as tech savy as their kids so they know what’s really going on. While trying to form sone sort of “Teen Center.Activities” here in town, it is blatently obvious that many are NOT willing to think oytside the box and start something new. What has been tried in the past is NOT what will work in this tech savy future, however, what remains the same is kids need something to do…Boredom=Trouble.

  2. loretta

    This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed and hopefully something will be done to help these kids to move them in a positive direction. I like the comment ” we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend we do not really have a problem or we can take positive action to bring attention to the problem”.

  3. Kristen

    I too LOVE the comment about sticking your head in the sand and pretend we do not have a problem or we can take positive action. I am with the taking positive action. I know first hand how many drug “issues” just on the bus. I have a 6th grader who has come home numerous times asking me different questions to what is coke mom, what is pot, what is green and brown in a baggie, what is white stuff in a glass bottle? The principles are ignoring these problems, it makes me sick that my 6th grader has been exposed to this many different types of drugs, drug paraphanilla yes I did spell that wrong, sorry, lol. It is time to take action here folks, come on just reading how many kids have been expelled from CNHMS is sickening!.

  4. Devon Gamache

    Thank you for putting this out there. People need to know what is going on within our schools. Our problems may not be as big as Manchester’s or East Hartford’s, but we are much smaller and they are a problem. We need to deal with it now before it gets worse. You wrote “Today we have substance abuse issues that were virtually unheard of years ago…” Just imagine what it’ll be like five, ten or even twenty years from now if we don’t address this.
    I look forward to tomorrow’s article. I really wonder if we’re doing right by our kids or if we’re doing more harm than good by kicking them out of school. Are we abandoning them, throwing them to the wolves?

  5. Sheri

    According to Coventry police department, 8 out of 9 high school students have substance abuse issues but yet our BOE or town does not feel it necessary to have a resource officer in the school. If what the police are saying is true, why wouldn’t we have a resource officer and a truancy officer in our school system?

  6. Loretta

    There has now been 8 expulsions as April 26,2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s