In its continuing efforts to educate children and their families about the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse in the age of the Internet, the Oceanside School District has taken a classical approach: the booklet.
Titled “A Parent’s Guide For the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use,” the book was funded by donations and given to every family that has a child in grades 6 through 12 by the district’s Drug Advisory/Wellness Council (DAWC).
“[The DAWC] has been a committee in existence in Oceanside for many years,” said Robert Fenter, assistant superintendent for curriculum. “And we’ve really tried to make an emphasis on actions we can do to help students make better choices and to support parents in the efforts of making good decisions.”
The book is a compilation of all the materials and information parents, and kids, could want or need in regards to alcohol and drugs. It includes information about what drugs can do to the brains of children, the effects of substance abuse, tips for how kids can say no, information on drug laws in different states and even pictures of drug paraphernalia for parents.
“We really felt strongly that we wanted this to be a booklet that’s in everyone’s kitchen in Oceanside, so that way no one has to fumble for information,” Fenter said. “Our social workers and our committee have vetted the booklet. They feel it’s great information. We don’t want people to have to go on the web and search websites that may or may not be accurate or helpful. This is good information that’s ready at a moment’s notice.”
The booklet was sponsored by many different organizations in the community, including the Kiwanis Club, the Interfaith Council, the Counseling Center, the Oceanside Federation of Teachers, the Fire Department and many more. The school district did not have to bear any cost for the book’s development or distribution.
“We did use some money that was provided to us by the federal government for Safe and Drug Free Schools that we had remaining in our accounts,” said Fenter. “Those funds are no longer being provided to school districts — we just had a little bit of money left over from the past years. So that’s what allowed us to purchase some additional books. But, honestly, the donations were the heart of the project.”
The project’s initial idea came from Nancy Baxter, president of the Oceanside Kiwanis Club. At a meeting of many different Kiwanis clubs, Baxter heard about the book from another club president. They had done it in their district, and it was well received.
Baxter brought the idea back to Oceanside, and the Kiwanis latched on to it. Sandie Schoell, a member of both Kiwanis and the Oceanside Board of Education, suggested that the group work with the school district on the book.
The book was distributed to all the parents who showed up at all of the schools for Back to School Night. If, for some reason, parents weren’t at Back to School Night or didn’t get the book there, copies are being mailed home to them with a letter from Fenter explaining what the book is. The district also had enough printed to give them to sixth grade families next year. If the funds can be raised, the DAWC wants to give the books to sixth grade families every year.
“We really felt strongly that we really wanted this to be a booklet that’s in everyone’s kitchen in Oceanside, so that way no one has to fumble for information,” Fenter said. “Our social workers and our committee have vetted the booklet. They feel it’s great information. We don’t want people to have to go on the web and search websites that may or may not be accurate or helpful. This is good information that’s ready at a moment’s notice.”