Friday, January 19, 2007

T-t-t-talkin' 'bout Their Generation; Where Was Everybody?

Windsor parents were invited to attend an informational meeting this past Monday at the high school to learn about the drug program that is going to be implemented at the high school this April.

Windsor, the town whose parents are supposedly so supportive of and concerned about their kids...14 people including myself showed up to hear the presentation. One of us was a newspaper reporter. Another was the minutes-taker. What an impressive showing that was.

I understand that even if you have just one student in the school district, it can be difficult to attend all the meetings every month. With trying to juggle a non-traditional work schedule, Wes' weekly 4-hour class, and multiple activities of my own four kids, I rarely get to attend meetings, even those I want to. But given that Windsor High was recently singled out for its higher-than-average drug and alcohol abuse problem, I naively believed more parents would show up at this meeting that took all of one hour of my time. The turnout was disappointing, to say the least.

I don't think this program (called "Every 15 Minutes") will solve the town's teenage substance abuse problems, but I do believe it's a fantastic starting point that's going to have a strong impact on all students, not just those who perhaps need it the most. If you're interested, check it out at (copy and paste the URL into your browser). We've been asked, though, not to share details with students, as their knowledge of what will happen beforehand would definitely lessen the impact of the program.

I applaud the high school and the district for moving forward with this bold program. But I can't help feeling nagged by the staggeringly low interest shown on behalf of parents as indicated by the poor attendance at the meeting. Are there really parents out there who tell themselves that their child would never drink or drug, so they don't need to concern themselves with this issue? I struggle with the idea that anyone might be that naivé in this day and age. I pray every day that my kids steer clear of the path that will lead them in that direction, but I don't kid myself: I know not one of them is immune to curiosity. And having been a teen myself decades ago, I know that curiosity, innocent as it may be, can be the first step on the path to self-destruction. I'm fortunate to have taken the road less travelled, but I had friends and family who didn't. It can happen to anyone.

I do so hope parents of all kids will take an active role in this community's efforts to stem the tide of alcohol and drug abuse among our youth. Everyone can do something, even if it's as small as sitting down and talking with our children. Please forward this column to anyone you believe needs to read it.

I don't understand the concept of doing nothing, especially where our children are involved.