Community Awareness Event Q&A
During the recent community awareness event on opioids and other drugs, our panel of experts answered questions posed by the audience, but time constraints and the sheer volume of questions we received prevented our ability to address everything posed. Over the past weeks, we reviewed these questions, many of which are related to just a few main areas of concern, including vaping, mental health, drug resistance education, and ways in which the district will continue to address these challenges.
We hope information below addresses the questions asked, but if others arise, or if you find yourself asking new questions following the event, please feel free to email Angela Linch, communications and public relations administrator, at email@example.com. Ms. Linch will ensure that your question reaches the individual best equipped to address it.
Once again – we thank our community for their support of this event, and we look forward to continuing this important conversation.
Many attendees had questions and concerns about vaping, how it will be addressed in our schools, and how they can get more information and education.
- Resources/Education – The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission has many excellent resources on their website to enable families to further educate themselves on vaping, arm themselves with education they can use to help their children avoid it, and keep up to date on the latest trends. Find it here. Download the BCDAC Vaping Prevention Toolkit here.
- Discipline – The Central Bucks School District is alarmed by the vaping trend present in our schools. Student discipline is one aspect of a multi-pronged approach to this problem. The Board’s Policy Committee will, as part of a periodic review process, examine changes to the district’s policies regarding possession of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs to reflect more serious penalties for possession of vaping paraphernalia – especially devices that contain nicotine and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). If approved, these policy changes will be reflected in our code of conduct, and school handbooks.
- Detection – Many of our students and their parents are well aware of the fact that our students are using vaping devices in school. The use and possession of these devices can be difficult to detect, since much of the use takes place on school buses, in bathrooms, and other areas with less active supervision. In addition, the devices are camouflaged, in that they are manufactured to pass as common every day items like flash drives, pens, and inhalers. Our administrators are responding by increasing our presence in these areas and investigating devices that may help. An example would be “vaping detectors” that can be installed in bathrooms.
The mental health of our students contributes directly to their ability to be happy, healthy, and successful. Many school districts, including Central Bucks, are taking a “Whole Child” approach to teaching and learning – developing programs, practices, and professional development that ensures each child, in each school, in each community, is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
This includes identifying, assisting, and referring students whose mental health may be at risk. Our Student Assistance Program (SAP), established according to the guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Health and Welfare provides a framework to identify, refer, and support students who are exhibiting behavioral, academic, or attendance issues that put them at risk. The referral process is confidential, and anyone – from a peer to a teacher to a concerned parent or community member, can refer a student who they think may need help. Learn more here.
Our principals, teachers, and administrators continue to engage in important professional development that is designed to help us identify best practices for supporting the Whole Child. We are committed to this important work, and to partnering with parents and caretakers through programs like the Parent Positive Series.
In addition, we continue to consider how additional resources can be strategically placed – including mental health counselors and social workers – in order to help us serve our families’ evolving needs and address the varied populations that make up our school communities.
Drug Abuse Prevention and Resistance Education
Our schools can be an important partner to parents and families in helping students make good choices that place them on a path to becoming their “best self,” and leading their best life. In addition to providing resources for parents, our administrators continue to examine our curriculum and programming (including student assemblies and other outreach initiatives) to identify age-appropriate and educationally sound ways to incorporate awareness and prevention education.
One example is the “tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs” (TAOD) programming that is taught during Red Ribbon Week in our elementary schools. This curriculum was recently updated to include new information about vaping. These modifications have been discussed by the board’s curriculum committee and are planned for implementation in the 2019-2020 school year.
Planning is ongoing for future awareness events and initiatives designed for students and families.
The Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission and other area agencies plan events regularly that provide insight, information, and resources around all of these topics. Look for these flyers, when available, in the "Community Events" section of the E-Flyer Folder here.