Students and school board discuss ways
to curb drug, alcohol use
By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer
Eight Blaine County students recently
attended the Idaho Summit on Alcohol and other Drug Issues sponsored by the
National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws on May 11 and 12. The students
presented their findings at the Blaine County School District Board of Trustees
Meeting, on Tuesday, June 8. At the request of the school board, the students
will take their findings to local legislators.
The students attended the conference held
in Boise through their involvement with Youth Adult Konnections known as YAK!
The students who attended included YAK! members Jessica Waszak, Tony Reyes, Kate
Zook, Marissa Evans, Shellie Skahill, Lacey Boyett and Matt Hansen.
Over the two days, the conference
identified drug and alcohol related issues and made recommendations for Idaho to
overcome the problems.
Because the conference primarily attracted
adults, the studentís voices were an important insight into the drug and alcohol
issues that teenagers face in Idaho.
"There were not many youth at the
conference. It was great to have eight Blaine County representatives," noted
Angenie McClearly of YAK!. "They fought to have the kids in their groups."
The students were able to take part in the
groups that discussed topics of interest to them.
"It was encouraging to see the students
talking so candidly about the issues they know first hand," said Hailey Hodges,
an AmeriCorps volunteer who attended the conference with the students.
Waszak, Reyes, Zook and Evan represented
the group at the meeting, speaking equally as candidly with the Blaine County
School Board trustees.
Zook, a senior at Wood River High School
participated in a group that discussed how to limit youth access to drugs and
alcohol in Idaho.
In order to curb use, Zook explained her
group recommended the state take action to help educate teachers identify when
students are under the influence, require those who sell alcohol are 21 years
old, be consistent when sentencing youth with drug and alcohol charges and
provide accessible activities for kids.
The School Board listened intently to the
studentsí recommendations and questioned the group on the direction drug
education should take in Blaine County Schools.
"Health isnít enough," sophomore Waszak
The students verbalized the importance of
consistent drug education starting in elementary school and continuing through
The studentís presentation at the School
Board Meeting was the initial action to capture the attention of those who can
implement a change in drug and alcohol education and policies. The activism is
consistent with the mission of YAK! "One of the purposes of YAK! is to get
involved in policy making and education," said McClearly.
After hearing the student presentation,
the School Board motioned for the group to take their recommendations to