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SUPERINTENDENT’S CORNER: Our pledge to ‘do something’ about drug epidemic

By LAURA HAMMACK, guest columnist

I am writing this column from a place of profound sadness, coupled with a little bit of anger and mixed, thankfully, with a whole bunch of resolve.

When you are a principal or a superintendent, you are blessed with the opportunity to attend a lot of happy occasions in the lives of our school family, like weddings and baby showers.

As well, you are given the important responsibility of attending many occasions for which school family members are experiencing profound sadness, at funerals or celebrations of life.

Last night (Sept. 10), I attended a celebration of life for a young man who was a father, son, grandson, brother, nephew, friend and graduate of Brown County High School. His life ended entirely too early, as it was stolen by the realities of the drug epidemic that is plaguing our community, our state and our nation.

On the morning of this past Labor Day, I was a member of a group of individuals who gathered on the front steps of Brown County High School to respond to the loss of this young man and other young people in our community. The group gathered to pray for the loss of these amazing young lives, to acknowledge the impact that drugs are having on our community and to respond with action and love to prevent another brilliant life being taken from our community too soon.

The rallying cry that has been locally adopted for our community in response to the loss of our sons and daughters to this terrible epidemic is “Do Something.”

The idea is that it’s time for us to get real about the impact that these drugs are having on our community.

The idea is that it’s time for us to work together to make positive change happen in the lives of young people, so that none of us experience the loss that has been experienced by families in our community when their children are taken too soon.

Brown County Schools is ready to work together with our community partners to respond.

Through a grant from AT&T, we are excited to deliver a comprehensive evidenced based model to our students in Grades 9 to 12 called the Botvin LifeSkills program. The curriculum is designed to strengthen student abilities in the following areas: 1. Personal self-management skills where students develop strategies for making healthy decisions, reducing stress, and managing anger; 2. General social skills where students strengthen their communication skills and learn how to build healthy relationships; and 3. Drug resistance skills where students understand the consequences of substance use, risk-taking and the influences of the media. We are hopeful to expand this program or others with similar efficacy across other grade levels to enhance these skill sets in our students.

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