On October 2, Seattle Prep invited Kevin Haggerty, a member of the Social Development Research Group at the University of Washington, to speak to parents about the results of a “wellness survey” that Prep students took last year. The focus of the presentation was threefold: 1) students’ use of drugs and alcohol, 2) the effects of that use on the adolescent brain, and 3) the steps parents can take to influence their children’s behavior relative to alcohol and drug use.
Information he provided via PowerPoint is available for your viewing here. Please note that the data posted on our website is not specific to Prep but rather state and national norms. Kevin Haggerty has graciously agreed to write up a synopsis of his presentation which we will share with parents once it is written.
A focal point of Kevin Haggerty’s presentation was the importance of parental influence in regards to adolescents’ decision to use alcohol and marijuana. He noted that parents have the biggest impact on their son’s/daughter’s behavior relative to drug and alcohol use and provided specific information about the ways parents can sway this behavior. He emphasized the importance of setting clear and consistent guidelines, monitoring student behavior, problem solving with your children when incidents arise, and having clear consequences for alcohol use.
We recognize Seattle Prep’s role in partnering with parents to help educate students about drug and alcohol use. The most important part we play is as educators. We will continue to work hard on the Wellness portion of our school improvement plan and develop curriculum and programming that has students address complex and difficult issues (social media, alcohol & drugs, sex, interpersonal relationships) and the effects their choices have on themselves and others.
As a Catholic, Jesuit school, committed to cura personalis (care for the person) Prep also has responsibilities relative to student alcohol and marijuana use that go beyond educating. For example, because we have access to information and resources in this area, we will offer assistance to any student or family that seeks help relative to alcohol or drug use/abuse. In these situations, of course, we would not impose consequences. Regarding other situations that involve alcohol/drug use, our response will depend on the answers to questions about the use: Is the use linked to a school activity? Does it affect the school community and/or the school reputation in the community? Is it a matter that is more appropriate for the family to deal with? Depending on the circumstances, sometimes our response will involve school imposed consequences. Sometimes it will involve notifying parents of behavior of which we have become aware. Sometimes it will involve helping a student get the help and education s/he needs.
We see the health and wellness of students, especially with decisions about alcohol and marijuana use as an opportunity to team with parents – to work together to ensure the safe and healthy development of our students.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to direct them to Michael Kelly, Assistant Principal for Student Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 577.2114.