More to the point, I want to address the problem overall, as it appears to be a serious problem and I'm not sure what is being done about it.
". . . parents have no clue what they’re getting themselves into at (certain)
"There are always fights and I’m telling you.. kids are popping pills IN class, stoned during school, and drinking – some kids come to school with vodka in their backpacks! Ecstasy is the big thing right now. I don’t know… I feel like my blinders have been taken off and in talking to other parents, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stuff."
So, is it worse over the last few years, than in years past?
Are drugs and alcohol issues LESS prominent in some schools than others, or are they actually used less by students of some schools? How about in the schools known for more of a college track? This parent continued,
So, I turn to google:
In the Clayton Pioneer dating back to 2006, drugs were mentioned by the Student Reporter: A Hyphy Movement 'Thizzing, or using the drug Ecstasy, is popular within they Hyphy culture.'
Earlier this year, another Clayton Valley High student, as Student Reporter for the Pioneer, wrote in her article, "Ecstasy is New Epidemic..." . The article sparked outrage from many sectors, fellow students, parents and educators alike. But is it really new? Clearly not when it was mentioned 3 years ago related to the same Clayton Valley High School.
And as I said, not to focus on just one school, and so you don't think it's just Clayton Valley, we found an article chronicling the recovery of "Sam," a Walnut Creek teen's road from meth. During this multi part series, it asked where Sam got her drugs:
During the nine months of turmoil, Sam never had any problems getting meth. It was cheap - the going rate for one night's worth for two was $40 - if she had to pay at all. Sam says friends at Northgate High School often just gave it to her.
"It's everywhere," she says. "You can't escape from it."
In a recent Times article, this article profiles a former, now recovering, DLS athlete / student who came back to visit De La Salle in hopes that his story will keep the students on right path:
A 1988 graduate of De La Salle and the baseball team's MVP as a senior, Curran has traveled a different and much more dangerous road than many of the athletes who have attended the school — a harrowing 20-year journey to the depths of nowhere and back.
Curran became an alcoholic. Heavy beer consumption began while he was at De La Salle.
In doing a simple google Internet search I found dozens of references of local drug and alcohol use among local teens, and at teen parties. This article from 2008 notes:
"Most high school parties in Martinez feature booze, weed, Ecstasy and acid," one Alhambra High senior said. Just some parties?
"No, most of them," said Greg Kearney, an 18-year-old Alhambra High School senior.
"Parents don't really know about them. When parents go out of town is when they usually happen," he said.
Of course we know of the tragedy in Orinda. Joseph Loudon (a Miramonte HS student) died during an unsupervised teen party, and in this article originally in the Oakland Tribune in 2007, it is noted that:
Correlating state Healthy Kids Survey results for school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties with data on free lunches that indicates relative levels of wealth in school districts, reveals youthful substance abuse is more common in the East Bay's richer areas.
More-affluent districts generally had higher rates of juniors who admitted to binge drinking or consumed alcohol within 30 days of the survey. They also had higher rates of juniors who admitted having been high from drugs.
Parents in the Lamorinda area united in 2006 after an out of control New Years eve party in Moraga. This was profiled in Diablo Magazine, Teenage Wasteland.
The parent who originally sent this information to me asked, are we , as parents, sticking our heads in the sand? Are we ignoring what is under our nose? What to do?
What is being done? Anything? Are school administrators ignoring the problems? Are parents? Are all schools facing these issues? Please be honest. As parents, we need to create solutions and not create divides by thinking this does not happen to your school, or in your community, because it does.
For more information:
Tonight, Sunday, October 18th, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee will be airing "Rehab, a sobering look at kids and addiction." The show will air on Nick at 8pm Pacific time. See more at Nick.com. This is a show aimed at kids. So, watch it with them. It may be "too young" for the group we're talking about here (high school), but it's never too early to start talking about it. Believe me, if you've got middle school students or older, they've heard it before.