Bradley Breeden, a seventh-grader at Southampton Middle School, and his mother Sabrina Breeden spoke about drug abuse education in schools during the public comment period at the January 23 meeting of the Harford County Board of Education. They were accompanied by supporters who held up signs in remembrance of local young people who reportedly died of heroin overdose in December. The signs read: “Aylssa Whelan RIP, Jaime RIP, Jack Deckleman RIP and future children RIP.” Sabrina Breeden said later that the group plans to attend every county meeting and school board meeting and plans to appear in Annapolis to push for action on drug abuse prevention and awareness.
The text of Bradley and Sabrina Breeden’s public comments were provided to The Dagger for publication and appears below:
Hello my name is Bradley Breeden. I did not learn about the dangers of drugs from school or watching TV. I learned about drugs from watching my older brother suffer from addiction. The fact we are not teaching drug education and prevention in schools concerns me. I do not want to see other kids have to go through what I have gone through. Please put the drug programs back into schools so we can educate and teach the dangers of drug use and addiction. If you do not put the programs back I guarantee you will lose more students to drug overdoses. Thank you
Hello my name is Sabrina Breeden and I have a son who is an addict. The amount of young adults using in Harford County is increasing every day at an alarming rate. We need to become proactive, and step up as parents and as a community and educate our children about the dangers of drugs.
Last year Harford County had 35 drug related deaths, and although we only account for 5% percent of the Maryland population, we are coming in third for overdose deaths. Heroin overdoses have increased 21% compared to 2009 and more then 100% compared to 2001. What has changed? One thing is we no longer offer drug awareness and education in the schools. We have failed those kids that overdosed and died. Maybe if they would have known that only 3% of ex-heroin users are successful with staying clean and never using again.
Maybe if they knew it only takes one time for you to use heroin to die. Maybe if they knew how addictive heroin is then maybe they would have never tried it. Maybe if they knew 87,000 trips to the emergency room are heroin and morphine related. Maybe if they knew more people die from overdoses then in auto accidents. We need to be proactive, because doing nothing is not working for us!
The County Council has stated they have money slotted for drug prevention in our schools, why is the school board not utilizing those funds? I would like to ask that you bring drug awareness and education back in schools on behalf of the students we have already lost and the ones we would like to save.
Why would you wait for the schools to educate your children on drugs? The Parents should be all over that.
Some parents dont have the knowledge of what drugs can do. Maybe they arnt aware of what drugs are popular. Maybe they dont have the ability to get the message across the right way. Maybe in a group setting it would clear up alot of questions only a professional can answer. Maybe they dont see any signs or threats of their kids using.
Im educated, employed, and a very active parent, and I missed the signs. My 18 year old son is hooked on heroin, and I am facing a life long battle to save him. I don’t know who showed him how to use a needle, I don’t know who sells him the drugs. I only know that I have lost my son, and I want him back.
Either you don’t have kids, you havent ever faced this kind of ordeal, or you don’t care. Educating kids about drugs should be mandatory in schools, every grade because you cant start too early. If it saves one childs life, and one parent from having to bury their child, then its a program that works.
The schools have drug education, now Southampton is the only middle school that doesn’t offer health where the majority of drug education occurs in middle school. The science teachers probably cover it instead.
At al levels it is covered. People in harford county need to wake up, you cannot leave your kids on autopilot and expect the school or anyone else to fully raise your child.
Your job as a parent is to try and raise a responsible young person. Your hobbies, and career mean nothing compared to that task. I am a parent and I will tell you that being a parent is way more difficult than being a teacher. Making sure a class of kids understand, and comprehend material is way more easier than raising someone to make smart decisions and be a good person.
Southampton does currently have a health class as a part of the unified arts classes.
My wife teaches science in a Middle School in this county. They have a health rotation in which drug education is taught as part of the curriculum. Before they had health she and the other science teachers where responsible for this content as part of their curriculum. I would suggest this group, although it’s goals are laudable, need to actually look at what is offered in schools already. To say their is NO drug education offered is a flat out lie!!!!! Perhaps their children simply have ignored it. No drug education program is ever going to substitute for the free will of the user who choses to start using!
This problem concerns all of us. We will not be silenced by being ignored. Let’s all come together as a community to save our citizens.
I want our kids to be constantly talked to about the dangers of drugs. Of course it needs to start at home, but I feel it needs to be reinforced in school and in the community. The rate of young adults experimenting with heroin is growing at an alarming rate. We need drug programs in school that show the gritty dangers of drugs. We need ex addicts to go into the schools and in the community and preach to these kids. As far as drug education being offered, you are wrong! The DARE program was taken out of schools 13 years ago. What is taught in Science is laughable, I am sure there is some dangers being preached but I am sure they are not showing the effects drugs have on ones life. They should go up to the hospital and show a addict on a ventilator. They should having someone come in and speak who lost his arm because he shot up heroin and got a abscess and had to have his arm cut off. They need to bring in a addict who is in a wheel chair because they overdosed and and went to long without oxygen to their brain. I have two children in the school system so I am fully aware what is offered. We are saying we need to come together as a community and reinforce, reinforce, reinforce! These kids should see drug prevention everywhere they go. Thanks.
The DARE program was taken out of schools because research showed it was ineffective when it came to prevention.
Outside of the time spent in health classes and science classes throughout the county, their is no time to fit this kind of extensive exposure you are asking for. The majority of students also don’t need this type of class in order to understand the dangers of drugs.
You would be better served in having the health department and HCPS work towards a program like this for students who are suspended for drug offenses. This is were your type of education needs to take place.
If you think what we have in place is effective you are delusional! I understand that there are only so many hours in a day and teachers are stressed for time as it is, but how much is a child’s life worth? We are failing these kids! What we are teaching is not working and having a program that only reaches at risk kids is crazy. I have seen kids on honor roll, good kids who are now heroin addicts. Your suggestion would not reach that kid. We need to open our eyes as a community and address this NOW!
So you now admit there are programs in the schools…..you just don’t like them. Stop saying there is nothing!
I love your passion Sabrina. I am just trying to focus you in the right direction. Focusing your type of exposure on at-risk kids is where you are going to make the most impact. Honor-roll students who end up as heroin addicts are making bad choices. They know the risks, they aren’t blind to it. Those kids need coping skills, decision making skills, etc. Most of those types of kids are turning to drugs based off of peer pressure and stress, not because they don’t know that drugs are bad.
The interventions provided by the county health department in cooperation with HCPS for drug offenses are lacking. And it’s not due to a lack of effort, it’s mostly funding, I believe. Focusing your efforts on beefing up the intervention response from this department when kids are identified early on would do wonders for the county.
I believe that too is in place but it is voluntary as it has to be.
DARE is not the only drug education program out there. My wifes school has a health class in 6th, 7th and 8th grade they take this for 7 weeks each. A component of that is drug education. Before they had a Health special area she taught from the Here’s Looking at You Unit which was and still is required of science teachers without health. They have had various people come and talk about the dangers of Drugs and poor life decisions. The 8th graders have had the SRO come in and talk about the same. To say it does not exist is a LIE. To say it could be better is fine but to say it does not exist is demonstrating a total ignorance of what is and is not actually going on. It is this ignorance that I find objectionable!
Incidently when reading the comments on the story about the deaths on the patch….It seems the same people told a commenting teacher who tells his kids not to do drugs every week and he got crucified by the bunch for mentioning it.
Sabrina, I am president of the Albert P Close Foundation and would like to talk to you about what we are trying to do to help the at-risk youth in Harford County. You can contact me Monday-Thursday at the number listed on our website.
Please don’t ignore the fact that drug use is on the rise in Harford County at a rate disproportional to the rest of the state or nation. The family is trying to raise awareness of a potential epidemic brewing and asking officials assess that everything which can be done is being done. I’m sure they were NOT discounting the drug education in health classes that is already delivered but are questioning if that is sufficient given the data they presented. Doing more within the schools may be the most cost effective method of outreach so it was right for them to be there. I would like to think that Harford County cares more about the lives of our kids than the above posts seem to indicate.
I am going off of what you are telling me is in the schools. My son is in the 7th grade and has brought nothing home about drug education. The last time I seen any talk about drugs in school was when he was in kindergarten and it addressed tobacco education. We need to gather as a community and show these kids we care. It is not about who is right and who is wrong it is about catching these kids before they fall.
Not to be rude but do you look at all the workj he does or has done? Does he have a health class at his school? If so have you asked to see the curriculum? If not have you asked his science teacher? What is and isn’t being taught. It is in the county curriculum for science. If you are saying there is a disconect between curiculum and practice then perhaps your kids science teacher if he does not have health is not teaching it and that needs to be looked at. There is however a program in place.
One of the new county policies is that all science teachers in a school teach the same units at the same time. For example, right now, 7th graders might have just finished up a unit on diseases. I think the drug unit usually comes up in the spring.
OK, so again in sixth grade did you look at what was coming home? Your kid is getting drug education stop saying it is not being made availible. Maybe it can be better but don’t say there is nothing being done.
Youth Drug Awareness and Preventioin says
More press along with some colorful commentary. Let’s make sure that we are clear in what we are doing. We are in no way suggesting that the schools should take the place of parents in educating our kids on these dangers. A parent must do everything they can. We are suggesting that schools need to be more proactive with drug education for our kids in addition to what we do as parents. I’ve said it before and will say it again…as a kid growing up 90% of what my parents told me went in one ear and out the other.
We need to do whatever we can to stop these numbers from soaring!!! Wake up people and stop making excuses for how we can’t further educate our kids in school!!! It’s ignorance and selfishness to think more cant be done in schools. And to suggest programs for kids who are suspended or have offenses is ludicrous…you’re already too late by that point. Do you wait till your kids have sex and are pregnant at 16 and then teach them about sex. Come on now people, this is a real problem and only getting worse. Stop being defensive and acting like its not a big issue
If you’d like to take a look at what it is we are doing then check it out at http://www.facebook.com/youthdrugprevention
Here’s Looking at You is not for suspended only kids it istaught in middle school.
Youth Drug Awareness and Preventioin says
@CDEV…I don’t mean to insult your intelligence, but do you have any idea what is covered in “Here’s Looking at You”? Would you prefer to question everyone’s comments when the goal is to help our kids. If so, then your comments are nothing more than ignorance and lack of wanting to make a better environment for our kids. I would love to have a productive discussion with you on this matter if you are able to present some valid arguments, statistics and facts as to why we shouldn’t have additional programs for these kids in schools, churches and abroad. Please show me the statistics that show that doing nothing further is better for our kids being educated, especially when you introduce peer pressure. I look forward to your reply…thanks
Yes I do. I was looking at my wifes binder last night when I asked her to bring it home last night so I could take a look and see. Very interesting unit that has lots of add ons including other drugs besides the big 3. Again my point is that when this group lies about what there is they make themselves look like fools and will not accomplish their serious and noble goal.
David A. Porter says
Do it in the home. Anywhere else is too late. I paid for children’s clothing for baptism of two small children in the Catholic Church for their parents who are trafficking. I’m sure their original sins were removed. But the parents will certainly provide them more opportunities to fail.
Why would anyone object to trying to save these young adults? Just look in the obits every week and you can see that our current curriculum has failed. These addicts are your family, neighbors, friends. You just may not be aware of it et. Let’s come together
School is where my son learned the most about drugs, that is where and how to get them!
Billy Jack says
School did not introduce and educate your son about drugs, his peers did. And when you learn about them from your peers, what you learn is wrong. If there was a mechanism to teach the basics to our kids it would help. All teens should be taught the difference between psychologically and physically addicting, the predisposition to addictive behavior some of them are born with, and the absolute truth about which drugs have the worst outcomes. It makes the most sense to do this in a science class because that is exactly what they would be learning, science.
Set the moralizing and discussions of personal responsibility aside. They are the responsibility of the parents. Our kids are already learning these lessons at home when they watch out behavior.
That is another disturbing problem. We need, as a community, to address the whole drug problem with our youth.
My daughter just died from a heroin overdose. It totally shocked me when I found out she was using. She told me it seemed normal to start using because everyone around her was using. She became desensitized to it. It is also so glamorized on tv and the media that it doesn’t scare kids anymore.
That is the problem, drug use is everywhere. Maybe we as a community need to put the solutions to drug abuse everywhere then the kids might stop using drugs.
Did the curriculm fail or did the parents fail? Kids get new teachers every year, and the school can only do so much. Parents are there for the whole life. Were you talking to your kid, did you check on them when the came home, did you leave them home alone?
Why would anyone in their right mind go into teaching? As far as those on this site are concerned public education is the blame for everything. Teachers are overpaid, have too good of benefits, and now need to do a better job raising the children.
Just to clarify I always was straight up about drugs and the fact addiction runs in our family. When I found out my son was using I was devastated! For the record my addict said his school taught about some drugs but never really went over what happens to your mind and body when you are a addict. He has said if he was a heroin addict in the city he would be in a abandon house but since he lives in bel air he gets to shoot up in million dollar homes while mommy and daddy are at work. We as parents need to join forces to stop this from happening!
A very interesting comment. What do you think the people who are living in the million dollar homes in the city are doing different than those in Harford County? Perhaps we should talk with the city people living in those million dollar homes and find out how they prevent addicts from shooting up in their homes.
The fact that you are personally attacking someone to the point that she has to defend herself and explain why and how her child ended up on drugs is crazy! The simple point is we are trying to help or county as a whole! We are trying to help these kids! This just goes to show how closed minded a lot of these people are in this county.
How is talking with the people in the city being close minded? Perhaps we could learn from them.
Addiction is a disease. Even though there is an element of choice involved, we cannot ignore the existence of the disease that causes the addict to keep using. Rehab is only the first step in recovery…and what happens when an addict wants to recover but can’t afford expensive inpatient rehab facilities? This is where we as a society are failing. We are not providing addicts with the help they need. And what about follow-up care and long-term residential placements, like sober living houses? There are a few halfway houses, but not enough to adequately serve the population. Throwing an addict in prison for drug offenses is not treating the disease that is the root cause of the problem. We need to address the problem instead of continuing to ignore it or making the excuse that it’s the addict’s choice. That is where we need to focus our attention to help the young people who are currently using, rather than argue about whose fault it is that they started using in the first place.
Wow! I am completely blown away by the comments that have been left. no oneis asking the school to raise our children, however just asking that they are taught better information starting at a younger age. sex education starts in the 5th grade why not start drug education as well. as a school system they don’t sugar coat the effects of having sex so why should they give only the bare minimum facts about drug use. yes we know there is a section in health or science that covers drugs and not to use them. What we are trying to do is get better information across to these kids. we know there is a program out there that helps kids who has already had a drug offense but that is a little to late. no one is trying to undermine any teachers ability to teach, we are just not satisfied with the information they are presenting and We want better information. We want our kids to have informAtion about ALL drugs, especially the ones that are most addictive. We want our children to know the real affects these drugs have on your body and mind. I must say growing up I never thought I of all people would know someone who did drugs but it hit really close to me. Growing up with an addict for a brother taught me a lot. And still to this day, 6 years clean, my mom still is in denial that he is a recovering addict. Too many parents out there have this attitude. Drug use is not just a ghetto problem or an inner city problem. Many parents say my child is a good kid and they would never do drugs. Take a look at the 35 lives lost last year……how many of them do you think were thought to be good kids?!?!?! So we need to wake up as a community and stick together on this issue. No one is trying to place blame. We are trying to keep our future generation from making the same poor choices as some of there peers!
CDEV I took your advice and did my homework. You are right they do teach a drug unit in Science called Here’s Looking At You 2000. I download the cirrculum, it only addresses alcohol, marijuana and nicotine. That would be great it we were dealing with a kid who is a alcoholic, chaining smoker who abuses marijuana. Sadly that is not the case! We are
dealing with kids who jump right in the frying
pan using heroin. What my group is suggested
is that we adopted drug prevention that is very
graphic and counsels the kids how to treat addiction. We would also like to teach kids how to seek help when you have a drug problem. We need to be proactive and save our youth before it is to late.
There are add on units for other drugs as well. However as you now see there is drug education despite your groups mischaracterization that there is NO drug education. It makes your group look eormously uneducated when you show up claiming there is nothing and have not done your homework, which you all haven’t. I agree that perhaps it can be better but perhaps next meeting you should point out what there is and how it can be made better not lie and say their is NOTHING!
And, just note that the Here’s Looking at You unit created for each grade in elementary school is not supposed to be taught during our daily Science block (per directive from the county science dept). Instead, teachers are supposed to “fit it in” when they can. Um, really? We have no extra time at the elementary level. Our schedules are tight as we teacher 6 subjects a day plus lunch plus special area classes. As a result, many lessons in the unit get skipped over or the unit is not taught at all. The unit is very outdated, as well. There is no direct instruction involving drugs other than alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine.
Sadly it seems like the only ones in this county who realize we have a problem are parents; but particularly those who have had or have firsthand experience be it their child, a friend’s child, family member, etc. Until our “officials” realize, or maybe admit, we have a problem, I prefer to think of it as a catastrophe, not much will be done about it. No real thought, analyze, time or effort will be expanded by those in positions to really have an effect on this county’s illegal drug epidemic. Until the schools admit it’s a problem, it’s not problem for them to worry about. Until our local government admits it’s a problem, it’s not a problem they have to worry about. When it’s not problem, it’s much easier to ignore it which is what they’re doing and it’s really sad!!
The school district doesn’t ignore it. There are instructional programs provided, but it isn’t and shouldn’t be major priority of the school system. Sometimes we become the catch-all for solving all of societies ills, which causes us to lose focus on our main objective. Whether it be drug prevention, personal finance, heck even manners, we fill in the gaps for what others won’t provide.
Billy Jack says
What needs to be taught is drug education. As I stated before, this is science and, at least as I see it, science education is the responsibility of the schools. It is not a gap others should provide anymore than I, as a parent, should be teaching my kids calculus at home.
It may not be your job, Abingdonteacher, unless you are a science teacher and then it absolutely should be. I prefer children to be educated about drugs and addiction rather than other science classes that are currently offered. Not knowing the periodic table has never killed anyone. The same can not be said for a lack of drug education.
David A. Porter says
I happen to love the Periodic Table of Elements. It is essential too many things including Chemistry which, as a part of science, teaches the scientific method. And the scientific method is an essential component of training people not to be bamboozled by those that would simply prefer to dispense Dogma. Having said that, I would have to concur with Abingdon Teacher to a degree, while it may not be a priority to educate kids about the pitfalls of drug use and the societal impacts, chances are if the kids live in a home where substance abuse is simply ignored or encouraged or tolerated, they will never develop the skills they need to resist the desire to try something that is this disturbing to the rest of our society. It is the parents responsibility to teach their kids right from wrong. Zero tolerance of any behaviors that are self destructive should begin at home. Where I work, I attend yearly substance abuse training. And when I sit and listen to the instructor (with my own learned values intact) I realize that there are people around me that do not view Substance Abuse as a problem in their lives, even though they may condone it in their home, while I will never engage in the activity they are warning me about. And let me add a further point: even when I know someone is trafficking in illicit substances and I bring it to the attention of supposedly responsible people in Child Services, they either can do nothing, or will do nothing to intervene in a dysfunctional home with adult users or adult trafficking present.
Bobbie P says
If you know someone is trafficking in illicit substances why don’t you bring it to the attention of your police friends? When you tell Sheriff Bane, what does he do about it?
Science teachers are not qualified to teach drug education. It’s not a part of their pre-service training. Science teachers that teach the “Here’s looking at you ” curriculum have to attend special training to become qualified.
Health teachers are qualified to teach drug education, and do. You may not like what the curriculum covers, but it is their responsibility and they teach the curriculum assigned by the county.
It is health and one of the many aspects of science. It is actually not in the Maryland State Curriculum for science it is for health. Our school system, tried to make it science teachers jobs but they also have to cover Geology, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy, and Enviornmental Science!
Are you out of your mind do you realize that baltimore has the highest rate of heroin abuse in the country!!!!! harford county is ranked as the 8th largest county in america abusing substances. schools should make it a priority to constantly tell children of the dangers and make sure that our children are not introduced to drugs in the schools. What grade do you teach kindergarden? What do all the others subjects matter when many of the kids are high as kites during class? So far this year 18 children have died of overdoses in this county. I am a parent of six adult children who all attended harford county schools whatsaved my children was the constant education they recieved at home. Thank God if it was not for that almsot all there friends every single one of the innocent little boy’s and girls I watched growing up is using drugs or knows someone actively using. This is a crisis situation in this county. Our children’s lives are at stake. Your comments are cold and out of touch with reality. You seem to care nothing for your students. Maybe you should consider another profession!!!!!!!!
I don’t doubt science teacher teach science and health teachers teach health but get out and about and you’ll discover that all this teaching hasn’t had any effect on the burgeoning illegal drug problem in this county. Hasn’t seemed to have helped with our problem of obese kids either? Look I’m sure most teachers mean well and do what they can to educate our children and there’s. This drug problem is everyone’s problem. Check the crime statistics I’ll bet you’ll find many if not most crimes against people are drug related. Check how many of the inmates at Harford County Detention Center are there because of drugs. Either directly or indirectly I’ll bet most or many are there due to illegal drug use or sales. This problem goes beyond our county we all know that but until our “officials” at all levels acknowledge and admit we have an epidemic in this county and country not much is going to happen.
The UN received 30 pounds of cocaine in the mail, from Mexico.
It is amazing to me that some people really believe that teaching anything more about the dangers of drugs in school will prevent their children from becoming involved in drugs. My oldest went to private elementary and middle school where there was not one bit of drug education. Do you think because the school didn’t address the dangers of drugs, that he became a user? No…because his PARENTS talked to him about this. We also know where he goes and who his friends are, and are friends with their parents. Too many parents these days drop off the kids at the mall/ice world and don’t really know whats going on in the lives of their children.
The teacher’s are not required to teacher the drug program they can if they want! In my son’s school they don’t so therefore there is NO DRUG education! You people are so hateful and just enjoy arguing. What have you all done to make a difference in your community…..exactly NOTHING! Namaste
Getting angry because you think those of us that are commenting are against you is wrong. Most of us are simply pointing out misinformation that you have either received or are putting out their on your own. I think your cause is noble, and I don’t, nor have I, blame you for your son becoming an addict. I sympathize with your situation and want to see you champion your cause successfully.
You can’t do that by spreading misinformation about the schools. All middle school science teachers are REQUIRED to teach the Here’s Looking at you portion of their curriculum just like any other unit. UNLESS the school has a health teacher that teaches all grade levels. If your son’s school is not teaching it, they either have a health teacher or are out of compliance with district policy.
Again, I want you to be successful and think your cause is worthy. But please do some more research before you make your next step in your journey.
Wait a few days ago you said there was no program at all. Now you sing a different tune. Honestly you are making up crap as you go along and hurting your very well intentioned goal. Sit down and actually talk to people in the curriculum office and stop making it up!
We are simple just trying to save kids from making a choice that can kill them. I was always open about the dangers of drugs with my son. I openly discussed the role addiction has played in our family tree. I keep track of my son’s friends. For god’s sake my son didn’t even have a bedroom door on his room because he couldn’t be trusted. I talked openly to his friends. I showed him alternatives to have fun that didn’t require you to drink or do drugs. I don’t drink or use drugs. I took my responsibility as a mother very serious and always tried to be a positive role model. My son became a heroin addict. I just want to make sure another family doesn’t have to go through the pain my family has. I am sorry that has offended you. You have a better idea, I challenge you to come to the next county council meeting or school board meeting and tell them your plan since you all think you know better then us! It is my guess that you won’t come, but you will continue to hide behind your computer and do nothing!
@Abingtonteacher I have downloaded the Here’s looking at you 2000 cirriculum and plan on taking all of your comments to heart. I plan on making a difference and if it saves just one kid from using heroin then I will be happy.
Billy Jack says
You are to be commended for speaking out about your personal tragedy with the goal of keeping the same from happening to others. I respect your desire to inform others of your loss in hopes that changes can be made to impact a problem in Harford County we all acknowledge.
Your son Bradley’s remarks were brave and honest. I tip my hat to him for speaking out and stating his own opinions. I hope Harford County Board of Education is listening. The ball is in their court to make changes in curriculum that need to happen. We will see if they consider this problem important enough to act.
@CDEV you got all the answers I look forward to seeing you at the next school board or county council meeting to enlighten us with all the great ideas you have to help the community:)
@CDEV what is your problem! Why so agrumentive? These people are trying to do something good and nobel. What have you done for your community?
Look guys. These people are trying to help. I have said that from the begining but they are attempting tomake schools out to be the bad guy with ignorant, uninformed, factually incorrect and bold faced lies! This is where I have the problem. I support their goal but not the lies. They need to do their homework, which they clearly have not done. Sabrina you clearly researched statistics for your show but never once actually looked at the curriculum and what is and is not offered. Did you ask anyone at South Hampton what they offer. Better yet did you look at your sons schedule and see the word HEALTH? Did you wonder what they might teach in that class? Did you ask? This is my problem.
David A. Porter says
As an aside CDEV, I just asked my son if he had Health in school. He did – it was Bel Air Middle School where he was taught. What I am about to say may bother some people, but it is still the truth. With all the stuff that is known and common knowledge about Heroin being a highly addictive and dangerous drug for anyone to use, it confounds me why anyone believes that drug education can make the difference between a person choosing to use it and not. I remember talking with a young lady about smoking. I told her about all the health problems she could be introducing herself to if she continued. I pointed to the Surgeon General’s warning on the side of her pack. She said she never noticed it before. In the end, education can offer things, but if people are only willing to take out of it what they want to, then it is not effective, and you shouldn’t hold anyone else responsible for a personal choice..
MY SON DOES NOT HAVE HEALTH! I did do my homework my son’s has not learned about the dangers of drugs in school! My son suffers from Aspergers a form of autism so trust me I know what he is taught since I have to go for IEP meetings in the school several times a year. When we talked to the county we asked that the DARE program be put back into schools. That is the same things we asked for of the school board. DARE was taken out 13 years ago. I do not lie I am offended that you have called me a lier. With that said I am done feeding into your behavior! Have a wonderful night.
“Heroin overdoses have increased 21% compared to 2009 and more then 100% compared to 2001. What has changed? One thing is we no longer offer drug awareness and education in the schools. We have failed those kids that overdosed and died”
Here is the lie or what do you call it?
what are you doing? why do you need the school to teach your son about drugs? You are his mom right?
@Sabrina…I am so sorry about what happened to you. I don’t even want to imagine a world where my son is not a part of it. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Please understand the Harford County’s curriculum is driven by what Maryland state dictates that we cover as well as state laws (COMAR). Majority of what is included in the state requirements comes from federal mandates.
My point is, keep fighting your fight. Let your voice be heard. Think big. Go to Annapolis and to DC on addition to fighting here in Harford County. Change can happen, but it will be slow. DO NOT be discouraged! Fight for your son!
Well said. Iam also a mother who has a child on heroin. Im trying to be strong for my son as we both have a long fight ahead of us. Maybe, when he is well into his recovery, he can become a drug counselor for youths. There is no one better to talk about drugs then someone who has been there. And no one better to get through to our kids then someone they can relate to, thats close to their age.
This is the only good that can possible come out of my sons addiction, to educate kids on all the damage that they do. This is something I pray for every single day!!
As I read through all the comments that focus on demanding that schools increase the amount of drug education I realize that many of these people aren’t aware of the curriculum demands and time restraints on teachers in the classroom. Harford County has embraced the ‘scripted curriculum’ where teachers of the same grade level/subject should be doing the same lesson and presenting it the same way, reading from a script on the same day across the county. Time is tight and high test scores are our country’s only goal these days. Teachers are being pressured to teach to the test- It’s all about the numbers. There is no drug education standardized test so students will always be taught that subject to a lesser degree than the core areas. Attending school board meetings won’t change much because each county is under pressure to meet the scores the state board wants. Drug prevention programs don’t put you as the #1 state in education. Reading scores top drug addiction prevention. Plain and simple.
Middle school is the time period where many students start making bad choices to be part of a group. It’s hard for a child to learn when they’re focused on the agony of being an ‘outcast’ and feeling that you have no friends. Middle school is also the time period when scheduling is the tightest and there’s barely room to fit all that’s required to be taught. Middle school is also the time when parent’s breathe a sigh of relief that the expense of after school child care expense is over and begin to trust their child with more alone time and the chance to ‘hang out’ with friends unsupervised. It’s probably the scariest time period of teaching and parenting. It’s also the time period where their social life becomes more important than anything else in the world to kids. It’s also the time where we try to give our kids more privacy-they all have cell phones and email accounts and some contain content we’d be shocked at. The foul language and sexual innuendos are mind boggling and it’s important to always be one step ‘cooler’ than your peers. Would these same parents be okay with the school system doing routine locker checks in middle school without yelling about right’s violations? Probably not. Unfortunately drugs and alcohol are tools to ‘coolness’ and they will seem attractive to a middle schooler struggling to be part of a group…any group.
The other unfortunate thing is how many students have indicated that their parents are part of the “Do what I say, not what I do” group. There are students who started drinking and smoking pot because they stole it from their parents unlocked liquor cabinet or their parent’s ‘stash’ of pot they found while snooping around. It’s all well and good to think a teacher reading a scripted drug prevention curriculum can keep your kids off drugs, but unless the child has made a personal connection to that teacher so that what the teacher says means something to them, it’s just one more adult yapping at them that drugs are bad-which they already know in their head. Those roaming hoards of kids in the mall need something better to do with their free time, and that’s call to action for their parents, not teachers.
old teacher says
The county recently cut out the helping teacher position for Health Education. That individual is back in the classroom teaching. The current supervisor of Physical Education and Health does not have much background in health curriculum, so I don’t see any significant changes coming. HCPS is following the state curriculum and that is all they are required to do.
@Carol I sent you a email.
Shakespeare's Gal says
My most memorable experience with drug education took place in sixth grade. My health teacher brought in a pig’s lungs, which had been treated with nicotine to simulate its effects. My grandparents were chain -smokers whose house reeked, and the dysfunctional lungs made me hate cigarettes even more. So why then, when I was a college student, did I begin smoking cigarettes? I knew full well the health risks associated with smoking; I knew the rap sheet of poisonous additives that I was inhaling; yet I lit up. I liked the immediate nicotine rush; I liked the glamour of holding the cigarette; I liked the camaraderie of meeting on the stoop. My point is the dangers of nicotine did not outweigh the benefits of smoking, and I chose accordingly. Luckily for me, I never became addicted and I haven’t picked up a cigarette in 10 years.
Parents or caregivers are in the closest circle of influence, and schools are the next circle; however the child ultimately makes his or her own decisions. The obesity/diabetes epidemic provides a clear example of the way that information does not always persuade a change in behavior. We know that a high-fat diet is unhealthful, but we continue to order the cheeseburger and fries. What gives us the strength to make a change? The strength comes from within.
We are raising emotional cripples who are too easily swayed by the influence of others. We need to raise children who are strong enough in their convictions to defend them, to say NO because using drugs violates their own innate sense of self.
Furthermore, we need to recognize the cognitive challenges of adolescence, when risk-taking is second nature. Teenagers live in the “here and now,” so many of them are not able to conceptualize the risk and consequences of their own actions based on what they hear in a classroom. Rather than drill students on the dangers of drugs, we need to provide them with strategies to make decisions and judge possible outcomes. Hopefully, they will apply those lessons with their peers for the rest of their lives.
While these stories of addiction and death are sad, they should not give us reason to demand that schools change their curricula. Schools have taught the harmful effects of drug use for the past thirty years, and what are kids doing? They are finding new drugs like bath salts. Information has not quelled the demand for drugs. Something else is wrong, and we need to start looking to the kids for answers.
I participate in the DARE program in middle school, sixth grade I believe. If I wanted to learn about drugs and how to take them, I learned it from that program. I used to joke with my friends that drug education gave you all the information you need to learn about how to use drugs.
I have a sister who is an addict, alcohol and pain killers. Pretty sure she when through the same stuff I did. She worked in environments where she could see the effects and still continued.
I don’t think that in sixth grade the school system should have blanket rights on exposing my children to every piece of information about drugs. Why? Because some are curious, because sometimes all you have to do is open the door. Because curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought him back. Because there are some things I neither want nor need to know.
Drug education has a place, and presenting information, discussing consequences that’s what important. Because if you have to try it because your friends do, and you’re predisposed to addition, do you think the fact that this drug kills 20 or 30 or 40% of people will really matter. Do you think most will remember that picture, that person that died. I don’t think so.
The problem is not that our children don’t know about drugs, or sex or any of the things they shouldn’t be doing. The problem, the one thing some of the programs had right, was the “Just say no”
We like to teach children about things, but we don’t teach them the how. The part that actions have consequences, the part that you lose things, you go to jail, you family doesn’t like being around you, they worry you’ll die long before your time.
Teach them how, then give them information, then they choose, and at some point the choice is theirs. We can’t make choices for people, we can’t be there 100% of the time, and all the best parenting and all the best environment doesn’t even mean the best choice will be made.
But if you can’t teach them to stand up in front of a crowd of people and say no, when everyone wants them to say yes, or to exercise self-control because one time can’t really hurt, or to do it because their friend did, all the education in the world isn’t going to mean a damn thing. Peer pressure, curiosity, lack of self-control and propensity to addiction beat out information and statistics any day. Even we as adults can attest to that.