December 7, 2011
By Innae Park
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — In a time when underage drinking and drug abuse is prevalent, some teens from Shenendehowa High School are taking a stand.
At a discussion organized by the school PTA and the Shenendehowa Community Coalition Wednesday night, a panel of seven students completely opened up, answering any and all questions parents had about alcohol and drug abuse in their school.
A survey done in 2008 shows the “past 30 day alcohol use rate” for Shen’s seniors is much higher than the national average: 64 percent, compared to 43 percent.
The binge drinking rates also exceed the state numbers: 43 percent, compared to 28 percent.
Those who attended this meeting are hoping to find answer to change those figures.
Twelfth grader Joe Kelly suggested, “Maybe put drug classes into the school itself, not just health class. If you get suspended, you now have to attend this class, this amount of days, because you did this, you know, something with a little more background behind it, like problems it leads to the body, not just what you did and now you’re gone.”
Craig Masterman is a member of the Shenendehowa Community Coalition and also has three children attending school in the district.
“I think it’s important we educate parents. Parents have to be actively involved in their children’s lives. If they’re not, then there’s not a lot of hope in the world,” Masterman said.
The Coalition also hopes to implement “social host legislation” in the state, which would penalize hosts who have underage drinking on their property. With winter break on the horizon and the potential for more underage drinking parties, the group is urging families to be aware of these issues.
To learn more about the Shenendehowa Community Coalition, visit www.preventioncouncil.org.