Informed Families Catalyst
President's Message - August 2023
As we gear up to celebrate Family Day on September 25, 2023, I wanted to take a moment to share some heartfelt thoughts with all of you.
In an era where distractions and societal pressures constantly beckon young minds, one challenge stands out starkly: substance abuse in schools. For many educators, confronting this challenge is more than just fulfilling a mandate. It's about preserving the sanctity of educational spaces and ensuring a bright future for every child.
As society continues to evolve, so do the complexities and challenges facing our younger generations. More than ever, there's an urgent need to equip our children with the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes to help them navigate the world safely and responsibly. This need underscores the critical importance of starting prevention education at a young age - particularly, at the elementary school level.
President's Message - August 2023
The phrase "Back to School" tends to stir a whirlwind of emotions in all of us. What are the first
words that spring to mind for you? And what about your child?
Informed Families newly-designated 2019 Red Ribbon Certified Schools include: Brownsville, Citrus Grove and Homestead Middle Schools in Miami-Dade County, FL; West Orange and Cypress Creek High Schools in Orange County, FL; and North Atlanta High School in Fulton County, GA.
The Red Ribbon Certified Schools in both Miami-Dade and Orange Counties received special recognition during the October School Board meetings in their respective counties.
According to the Florida Department of Education, there are approximately 200,000 high school seniors in our state. Most of those students will be graduating in the coming weeks. We want all of them to make it safely to the day after graduation…
Graduation is a time for celebration, but it can also be a dangerous time for students. The start of summer already has teens thinking about less responsibility and more fun; adding a milestone such as graduation to the mix gives many students an excuse to party more than they normally would. Unfortunately, in the process, these graduates might endanger their health and risk the safety of others. This can lead to tragedy for students right after one of the most significant achievements of their young lives.
Parents of high schoolers worry about the parties their kids attend, and rightfully so. Drinking and drug use may occur at unsupervised parties; inebriated teens may get behind the wheel and endanger the lives of themselves, their passengers and innocent drivers; and alcohol poisoning, sexual assault or arrest are stark possibilities when minors drink to excess.
However, the image of a crazy high school party in which parents are on vacation and the whole school shows up for a kegger is a little overblown. Yes, the occasional party does approach out-of-control levels, but the majority of parties are smaller affairs, drawing no more than a few dozen kids, and perhaps even thrown with the blessing of parents who think teens will be safer if they drink in a supervised setting.
Prom creates a wonderful memory for many students at Florida high schools. Teens plan, both individually and at school, to make prom a special night. Yet, drugs and alcohol can sometimes ruin that special night. In the worst-case scenario, the night can become tragic.
According to a AAA survey, 31 percent of high schoolers say they or someone they know plan to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol sometime during prom/graduation season. This statistic is troubling—students go through the effort of creating that special prom memory (not to mention the money their parents spend on gowns, tuxes and so on), then might get impaired enough to not remember the night.
The idea of high school parties often conjures images of outrageous bashes you remember from John Hughes movies or other teen flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. Or, perhaps you recall parties from your own youth and the chaos that may have accompanied them. These memories may scare you into never trusting your teens to throw a party themselves—even one that’s supervised.
Make no mistake: Unsupervised high school parties are a terrible idea, often descending into Sixteen Candles- or American Pie-type anarchy and destruction. However, when properly planned and supervised, with clear rules in place, your teens can throw a party for their friends that is both fun and safe. Here are some tips on how to help them make that happen: