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Committee to review recommendations of school board panel

June 07, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Recommendations from the Washington County Board of Education's Alcohol and Drug Task Force, which include a systemwide mentoring program and increasing alcohol- and drug-free activities, will be reviewed by a new committee, Interim Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said Wednesday.

The committee will "see what we can do now and what we can do later and put costs with some of the recommendations," Morgan said.

Morgan said some of the task force recommendations that wouldn't cost anything, such as a new mentoring program for at-risk youth, could be in place by the next school year.

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She said some schools already have mentoring programs, but there is not a large systemwide program.

Morgan formed the task force after the 2001 Maryland Adolescent Survey indicated a higher percentage of Washington County public school sophomores and seniors had used Ecstasy, marijuana, crack, cocaine and LSD than their peers throughout the state.

For example, 3.4 percent of Washington County sophomores said in 1998 that they used Ecstasy, according to the survey. That percentage jumped to 17.4 percent of sophomores in 2001.

The survey indicated 9.1 percent of seniors who responded used Ecstasy in 1998, compared to 17.1 percent in 2001.

The task force presented the recommendations to the School Board on Tuesday.

Task force recommendations included:

-- Forming alcohol and drug task forces in each middle and high school.

-- Holding alcohol- and drug-free events for students and their families.

-- Getting information on substance use and abuse to the public.

-- Providing parents with parenting skills that deter their children from using drugs.

-- Providing awareness and education programs from kindergarten through 12th-grade.

Task force representatives said parents and the community need to become involved and help solve the problem of drug and alcohol use.

"This is a very serious problem. It's a family problem," Morgan said.

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