Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Basehor-Linwood plans drug, alcohol seminars

September 4, 2002

Concerned with results from a substance abuse survey, the Basehor-Linwood School District is making preparations to implement a seminar about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

The seminar is designed for students and parents. The seminar would be interactive, with area drug and alcohol abuse counselors, school officials said.

The survey was taken last school year. It was administered to all students in the sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades.

Survey answers varied but some of the answers showed a disturbing enough trend to warrant the preventative seminar, school officials said.

"We have come to the conclusion it doesn't make sense (to have that information) unless we do something proactive," said Cal Cormack, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent.

"We have an additional opportunity to take a step in that direction," he said.

Of the students surveyed, some of their answers included:

The average age at which school district youths first try alcohol is 12. 38 years. The county average is 12.48 and the state average is 12.71 years.

The average age in which students first use alcohol regularly at least once or twice a month is 13.8 years compared to the county average of 13.9 years and the state average, 14.39 years.

The average age at which a students first use marijuana is 13.7 years in 2002, an increase from 13.36 years in 2001. The figure is below the state average of 13.75, years but above the county average of 13.36 years.

The survey was administered by Research Services of the Southeast Kansas Education Services Center.

The seminar are recommended by L.I.N.K.S., formerly known as Community Education, and will be overseen by Brenda De Groot, director of the Virtual Charter School and external school district programs.

In addition to drug and alcohol counselors, the program will include teens and parents with real life drug and alcohol experiences, De Groot said.

School officials said attendance will be mandatory for BLHS athletes and those involved in activities.

School officials said athletes and those involved in activities already signed a commitment contract pledging not use drugs or alcohol. The students' parents also signed the contract.

De Groot called the program "powerful" and said it would benefit parents and students alike.

There has not yet been a date set for the seminar. School officials said it would most likely be scheduled in October.

Cormack presented the Basehor-Linwood School Board with the proposal during a meeting Aug. 12. School Board members said they liked the idea and could choose to include other area schools.

"This will be an addition that we want them to come to," board member Ron Owen said. "I think this is an issue we all are dealing with as school districts."

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