Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Open Forum: Peer pressure is strong in high school

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The Frederick Board of Education meeting on Jan. 23 included a heated debate about drugs in schools.

In high school, I knew drug use was a part of the culture. Peer influence only heightened the pressure to take a part in it. While there is the ‘‘Just Say No” campaign to stop drug use, it is not always an effective one.

Despite the knowledge of potential dangers and the disapproval of society and especially of family members, many teenagers still use drugs with the logic that parents will never find out.

The board discussed a partnership with a company that does drug tests at home and gives advice to parents on how to handle these situations. The reasoning for this is so parents can give their children another peer-pressure deterrent in saying, “I can't do drugs, my parents test.“

While I find the concept admirable and most likely effective, I do not believe that the board should seek a partnership with a for-profit company. I do believe that the board should consider making use of many of the ideas the company proposed, however.

The drug tests can be bought in drug stores at a relatively low cost ($12 to $15) and could, quite possibly, counteract peer pressure. It most certainly is not a cure-all to drug use in schools, but rather one of many angles from which to attack drug use in schools.

Informing parents about how to address these issues with their children in every manner we can is of dire importance. We need to use every medium we can: television, fcps.org, e-mail, Find Out First, and, of course, communication with the children.

We need to do everything we can to prevent drugs from becoming an even larger part of our schools; this starts by informing parents about drug use and the availability of drug tests.

These are only small steps in drug prevention in our schools. There is so much we can do, yet we are doing little. There are drugs in our schools and the peer pressure to do them is stronger than you think.

Robert Oland, New Market

The writer is running for a seat on the Frederick Board of Education.