To educate parents about the growing concerns of students using and experimenting with drugs and alcohol, Gowanda’s strategy is to require that one parent or guardian attend the District’s Drug & Alcohol Parent Forum. In coordination with the Village of Gowanda Police Department, the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department and Kids Escaping Drugs, the Drug & Alcohol Parent Forum is a 90 minute program that addresses recognition of drugs and drug paraphernalia, signs and symptoms of abuse, health risks associated with abuse and the liability as a parent for hosting and/or purchasing alcohol and other drugs.
Attendance is mandatory for parents/guardians of students entering grade 5 and grade 9, as well as for parents/guardians of students new or re-enrolling to Gowanda Middle School and Gowanda High School. Parents must attend the forum to allow their child to participate in any Middle School/High School special events. Once this requirement is met, it is valid for the remainder of the child’s career in each school.
The event was very informational. It was apparent to parents/guardians how important it is to talk to their kids about abstaining from participating in extracurricular activities involving alcohol and drugs. After speaking with several parents after the event, some of the feedback was regarding how they wished the presentation went into further discussion on the gummies. Parents were shocked by how similar they looked to actual candy and that really concerned them. Some parents even thought it would be beneficial for parents of elementary school kids to attend.
Overall, it was a great event with positive feedback. I look forward to seeing the effects of it in the coming years.
By: Brittney Olszewski
Healthy Community Alliance