By Jeff Gallatin
School district and PTA officials hope a new pledge drive effort fosters an ongoing effort to reduce substance abuse among Bay Village students now and in the future.
Bay Village PTA officials, in conjunction with district officials, announced last week a signatory pledge drive directed toward increased parental engagement to help reduce substance abuse among the community’s youth. The pledge form is on the Bay Village School District website at http://www.bayvillageschools.com/BayVillageParentPledge.
School Superintendent Clint Keener said having parents involved in their children’s lives is a key.
“We want to plant the seed for reducing and preventing substance abuse in our youths,” Keener said. “A big part of that is parents communicating and working with their kids. It can be as simple as them as having regular family dinners together or just sitting down and talking about things. Or a father looking a child in the eye as he goes out, (saying), ‘You be good tonight.’”
Keener said one of the catalysts for the pledge was former federal DEA agent Bob Sturman’s public talk in Bay Village several months ago.
Keener said district officials are pleased to be working with the Bay Village PTA on the pledge drive.
In a press release PTA officials said, “Due to the unfortunate presence of alcohol and drug use among the youth in Bay Village and surrounding communities, the Bay Village PTA has started a pledge drive. For many years the city, through their police force, and the schools, through their drug education programs, has been trying to fight and reverse the bad choices that some children have taken. The time has come for parents to take a more active role in this fight.
“When DEA agent, Bob Stutman, talked to the community in the early fall, the question was asked: ‘Can we say, we tried our best to prevent the next death?’ The Bay Village Parent Pledge drive is an effort to reverse the growing substance abuse statistics. The mission is simple: To promote greater parental responsibility to keep our children drug and alcohol free. Bay Village PTA believes this to be a fundamental piece in keeping our youth substance abuse free while understanding that there are no simple solutions. The pledge was developed by Bay Village PTA, with the input of Bay Family Services and Bay Village Police Detective (Kevin) Krolkosky, to reflect the issues that are observed locally.”
The pledge addresses three main facets that are observed in the community’s families:
• Pledge Point 1) To never condone alcohol or drug use for children. Tacit denial or condoning of a little bit of drug or alcohol abuse by our youth is not acceptable. By signing the pledge, parents will realize that they do not stand alone in our community when they live by this rule in their house.
• Pledge Point 2) To be an active participant in my children’s lives by regularly having open communication, participating in family meals, and maintaining awareness of my children and what they are doing. Substance abuse often happens within our own homes and when our children are left unsupervised. Parents need to be active participants in their children’s lives by talking to them on an ongoing basis, being active in their lives, and setting rules and expecting the rules to be followed. Research clearly shows that in the fight against drugs and alcohol, family relationships do matter. There is a direct correlation between how many dinners a family has together and the likelihood of substance abuse. Increasing the number of meals families have together is something every Bay Village parent can do.
• Pledge Point 3) To recognize that I am the most powerful influence in my children’s lives and take ongoing responsibility for educating my children about substance abuse. Bay Village parents and guardians cannot forget that they are THE most powerful influence in their children’s lives. The drug landscape is constantly changing. It is every parent’s responsibility to educate themselves and their children, on an ongoing basis, about the different types and the effects of substance abuse. Parents are the most significant role model in their children’s entire lives and have the power to influence the choices their children make.
“Help change to course of the risky behavior our children are currently taking and sign the pledge at http://www.bayvillageschools.com/BayVillageParentPledge.”