Coloma Schools is committed to providing a no-tolerance environment for drugs and alcohol in every building. This no-tolerance position is reinforced regularly with the students through presentations by health department and law enforcement professionals, resources available in each media center, and discipline policies that are consistently enforced.Research has repeatedly demonstrated that parental input is the most significant factor in keeping students safe from the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.Consider the average first use of alcohol – 12.3 years old;cigarettes – 10.9 years old;and marijuana – 13.4 years old. Early use often leads to later abuse and is strongly associated with other problem behaviors, such as poor school performance, lying and stealing.In addition, early use of chemical substances can have a significant effect on a person’s concentration, attention, memory, academic achievement and problem solving skills.Parents must take an active roll in abuse prevention.
Successful strategies include:
Develop and maintain an awareness:
- Stay informed of drugs, their effects and signs of use.
- Get to know your children’s friends and their families.
- Establish, through discussions with your children, knowledge of their whereabouts and curfew agreements.
- Discuss issues frequently with your children.
- Make sure they know the health dangers of drug and alcohol use.
- Listen carefully to reassure them that you value their ideas.
- Know the physical symptoms of drug abuse -- red eyes, flushed skin, confused speech, drowsiness or chronic fatigue, coughing, excessive perspiration.
- Look for behavioral changes – downward trend in grades, lack of interest in activities, changes in friends, anger, frequent headaches, an increase in colds, flu or stomach aches.
- Respond to information and concerns coming from your child’s teachers and school
- Communicate with other parents about limits, guidelines and standards of behavior.
- Keep your children active in structured activities – extracurricular clubs, sports, community and church activities, volunteer work, jobs.
- Our young people will respond to the many pressures that encourage them to try substance abuse.
- Their individual response will be determined by the investments made in their choices.
- Coloma’s counselors are available to help – feel free to call to express concerns or ask for assistance.