“Start Talking Before They Start Drinking and Drugging” will focus on substance abuse issues in the secondary schools. It will be presented by high school district social workers Karen Ehrlich and Margaret McConnell.
“They know the students and they know the community and the issues,” Vogel said about why they were chosen to present this topic. “They are in the best position to speak in a way that is meaningful to the parents.”
“Stealing Innocence: The Shaping of Children’s Thinking About Drug Use” will be geared toward parents of elementary and middle school students. It will be presented by Barry Wilansky, executive director of the Tempo Group, an out-patient treatment program for families.
Scott Comis, principal of Brooklyn Avenue School who represents District 24 on the Wellness Committee, said it’s never too early to educate parents about substance abuse, even if their children are in elementary school. While drugs and alcohol typically aren’t problems at the that level, he said children should be prepared to cope with the peer pressure they will face in junior high and high school. “A very good defense for that is to educate the parents to work in unison with the schools,” he said.
The Wellness Committee is a collaborative effort between Valley Stream’s four school districts. It includes administrators, Board of Education members, PTA leaders, social workers, school nurses and representatives from various health and treatment agencies.
Although the committee has hosted informational nights for parents in the past, this is first time there is an extensive program featuring several topics. Vogel said that bullying and drug and alcohol abuse were the issues parents most wanted information about based on a survey last year.
Vogel said she wants to hear from parents about topics they would like the Wellness Committee to focus on in the future. If this year’s Parent University is a success, she said it will likely become an annual event.Parent University
When: Monday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Where: Valley Stream Central High School, Keller Auditorium, 135 Fletcher Ave.