by Laraine Stumpf
In my last column I discussed signs and symptoms of drug use and described an instance of a student who was an honor student before drug use consumed his academic promise. It may be true that your son or daughter is an honor student but is underperforming in the classroom. Furthermore, it becomes apparent when suddenly or even over time, your son or daughter becomes a “C” student or worse. Consequently and much to your disappointment, your child’s teachers request conferences to share their concerns over the declining academics or progress in the classroom. As busy parents, we trust and sometimes assume that our children are doing fine. However, questions begin to preoccupy a parent’s mind when telephone calls from teachers and instructors are informing you that your child is in danger of failing this quarter and your son, for example, could become academically ineligible to wrestle or play football.
No parent wishes to receive that discouraging phone call because it invokes a conversation we must have with our children to identify the root of the problem. Speaking from this very experience, I think removing the child from sports activities offers too much time for the kids to be self-destructive. Let’s face it, we live in a working community and we need our children to be involved in extracurricular activities. Our area does not have a skating rink or a shopping mall. The fun activities I enjoyed growing up is lacking or absent altogether. The community does have a recreation center, which can be pricey and cost prohibitive. As a result, we do not have much to offer our children except school activities.
The thought that a child’s academic performance can be negatively influenced by illicit and underhanded actions is frightening. I have heard in the past of kids slipping pills to other students in class with the adage that the “first high is free.” Disturbingly, I have also learned from a Sagamore Hills police officer that you could find marijuana, pills, and heroin within five minutes of the high school.
The mere thought that unlawful activity is occurring in our community should generate serious concern and dialogue. I am sending my child to school to get the best education possible. Our children attend school to learn and become good, productive citizens but sadly, we are faced with this problem. Unfortunately, not only was I was confronted with my son’s falling grades but I also encountered the stark reality that he was cut from the wrestling team, which, by having more time on his hands, led to his full-blown addiction. This scenario and many similar like it, is too much for a family to handle.
I am urging our educators to develop a better way than to cut affected children from school functions. Increased emphasis on after school tutoring or even Saturday tutoring may be a potential solution. It could also be as simple as being more cognizant of a student’s friends and separating them in the classroom. The last thing we want as parents is to turn school into one large social gathering. Active parental involvement is essential with a contribution of realistic and attainable solutions is one way to address the trouble.
As a parent, it is key to watch your child’s behavior closely in light of the events that are occurring on or near the schools and in the community. Your honor student may be maintaining their grades but is still using drugs. This is a very difficult situation because you don’t know what to look for. Observe and note their appearance and scrutinize their friends—get to know them! Furthermore, and as I had mentioned in my previous article, watch for weight loss or lack of a presentable appearance. If you have a feeling that something is not right, trust your parental instinct and if something does not seem right, more than likely it is not. Become the detective your child has made of you because of his or her actions that made you feel that way. Remember, all it takes is one trip to jail to lose that scholarship or free ride to college. In addition to monitoring your child’s grades and as much as you want to respect his or her privacy, you may have to make the painstaking decision to track your son’s or daughter’s mobile phone activity; it could mean a matter of literally saving your child’s life. As a parent, you must do all you can to protect your child from the agony of drug use and drug addiction.
Click this link for more facts and figures on addiction.
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