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1st mandatory session for parents on drugs, alcohol held at Iroquois

A new substance abuse program, mandatory for parents of incoming freshmen at Iroquois High School, ran smoothly, School Board President Susan Brunner told the board this week.

Brunner said the school is trying to take a proactive approach in an effort to educate parents on current trends and dangers involved with drugs and alcohol.

"It's everything parents would need to know about substance abuse and it was received very well," Brunner said. "After the 90-minute presentation, parents stayed an additional hour to ask questions and talk with some of the speakers."
Seventy-five parents, representing about a third of the class of 2013, attended the first of three presentations given by experts in the fields of law enforcement, medicine and social work. The program will be repeated at 7 p.m. Monday and Sept. 29 in the high school auditorium.

According to a letter sent home to freshmen parents this summer by Superintendent Neil Rochelle, attendance is mandatory for parents of incoming freshmen, particularly for those students who want to attend the Homecoming, Winter Ball or Spring Fling dances.

Brunner said the idea was brought to the school district by its Safe Homes Committee, which is made up of parent representatives from each building along with the school physician, Dr. Jennifer Erickson. The Safe Homes group told school officials it had seen an increase in drug and alcohol activity in the surrounding area.

The board also discussed making a similar program mandatory for incoming high school students in the future. However, Brunner said the program content would have to be modified as some portions, especially the one that displays and explains drug paraphernalia, would be inappropriate.

In other matters, transportation problems in the first week of school, particularly with students being bused to private schools, are causing the district to rethink some of its cost-cutting measures enacted earlier this year.

Business Administrator Douglas Scofield said the district wanted to make sure buses were being used to capacity but trustee Susanne Wolf said issues raised by concerned parents had to be considered.

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