The question of how to help and support area school kids facing drug or alcohol pressures—beyond the simple, but perhaps inadequate, directive to “just say no”—is an important question.

For those interested in learning about what other Chicago-area schools are doing to combat youth drug and alcohol abuse, there will be a special presentation Dec. 8 at the River Forest Community Center at 7 p.m. All community members are most welcome to attend.

Of special interest on Dec. 8 is a talk by Chicago-area Student Assistance Program Consultant Diana Busch. She and others will identify the resources and structural support that some communities now bring to bear on these issues.

Some schools have moved away from a strict “punishment” response and toward a more effective “partnering approach” with youth. School policies are written to give kids real-time, concrete ways and options to combat peer pressure. Policies are tailored both as tangible structural support (via school rules and programs) and therapeutic support.

In this manner, standing alongside their kids, schools and parents buttress and better support their youth when they are faced with peer pressure to do drugs or alcohol. The Illinois Youth Survey numbers show that our local youth might need more help than the exhortation to “just say no.” As such, on Dec. 8, learning a little bit about how other communities already assist their children might be a very interesting and helpful way to begin our own conversation.

Cathaleen Roach, Kelly O’Connor and Kelly Wegener
Members, OPRF High School Action Committee

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