Threaded discussion, 10-21-98 : LUSENET : M.Ed. Cohort II : One Thread

There was lots of information given by Peg Mold. My guess is that some was new to you and some may not have been. Let's have another threaded discussion on your reaction to what she had to say and its implications for you.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 1998


I was surprised to find out the extent of Duluth's crack cocaine problem. I was aware that it was here,but not that it was as wide spread as it in fact is. Many high school kids have told me that you could get any drug that you wanted here in Duluth. Now I guess I believe them. Not good for Duluth! I am also interested in what Peg had to say about how our own bodies can produce through exercise, or even better from sex, the same chemicals as the drugs heroin and cocaine. I am reading a book titled Mentally Tough by Loehr and McLaughlin. It also talks about how we all can be expanding our abilites to perform at our top levels, both mentally and physically, by utilizing the chemicals that our brains produce. The steps outlined in the book do not seem that difficult. It almost ties in with parts of Covey and his principles. I wouldn't mind feeling truely great all the I might just start some of these practices. See if I'm smiling the next time you see me.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 1998

Peg Mold had some very interesting things to say. It is frightening to find out how prevalent drug use is in our secondary schools--and possibly in our elementary and middle schools. I am amazed at the prevalence of inhalents and how easy it is for young children to enter the "drug culture" in this way. I wish there was some way that we could reach these young children who are trying to mask pain or seek pleasure. I think that educators need to do what they can to influence children. Any efforts on our part may in some way touch the life of a child and may plant a seed to help them make a healthy choice or decisions. One of Peg's statements really made an impact on me: She stated that emotional development is stunted at the time children begin using--that they can't progress through the normal emotional developmental stages because the effects of the drug alter and stop this normal progression. Scary! I helps me to understand some people who seem to never "grow up" and take responsiblity for their actions. And just one more comment--Alcohol is so accepted in our society. Peg's continuum got me to thinking what a fine line there is between recreational drinking and abuse.

-- Anonymous, October 23, 1998

When I got home from class my 18yr. old daughter and one of her friends and my 15 yr. old son were hanging out and talking and called me to come here. I went down to say "hello" how was your day and ended up in a long and interesting discussion about drugs and alcohol. I passed on a lot of the information that Peg shared at class that nite and they gave me a lot of information about what they have seen and what is out there. It is frightening to me raising four children. They told me stories of people they know that have graduated from high school and act like they are 12. It made me think of what Peg said about the emotional growth stopping at the point where drug use begins. I know that is not always the answer for immaturity but both my daughter and her friend said that probably explains the behavior of a few people they know, who used drugs a lot in high school. On Thursday night I was at the Bob Dylan concert. It was interesting looking at what was happening there in light of the information I had just heard on Wed. from Peg. There was a lot of beer and the smell of weed was VERY evident. It just seems that as a culture we want the fastest way to get rid of pain and the quickest way to seek pleasure. Yet very often people are willing to work incredible hours at their jobs; so why not on personal lives?

-- Anonymous, October 25, 1998

Ten to twelve years ago when I was in high school, my friends and I did a lot of drinking. I didn't know that many people who were getting high. The ones that were doing drugs were considered losers or burnouts. Listening to my students now, they say at least 70% of their classmates have smoked weed. It isn't such a big deal, just as drinking wasn't a big deal with me back then. I have seen straight A students in 8th grade go to below average students in 9th and 10th grades when they started smoking weed. They are totally fried in class. Some of them don't know what is going on. The pattern that I have noticed is many of the students who smoke weed, have parents who smoked or are smoking weed. One girl told me her parents had to get a safe to keep their weed because her brother kept taking it. No wonder these kids are the way they are. They are becoming their parents and their parents are not aware of what is going on or they just aren't doing anything about it.

I know it is hard teaching to some of my students when they are straight, but when they are high, I don't think anything gets through and if it does, it doesn't stay.

-- Anonymous, October 25, 1998

What interests me is how learning is effected by the drug usage of many of the students in our middle and high schools. It is alarming to hear the percentage of youth using a variety of drugs. As we attempt interventions, even as young a elementary schools, I wonder if programs such as Project Aware and DARE are enough. It is interesting to hear also that children are making decisions regarding use as early as fourth grade. This makes my role as a second grade teacher more important than I thought. I can not take my responsiblility to teach drug education as part of the Growing Healthy curriculum lightly. I feel parents too often tolerate alcohol and drug usage, many sending the message that it is okay within limits. What is the community doing to support efforts to edcuate parents and youth about the harmful and long lasting outcomes of drug abuse and dependency? As educators we are given the task to make students aware of choices. Can we reach the parents? Public service announcements are used to educate and influence. Commercials for alcohol seem to encourage usage and the need to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Being able to identify and refer students in need means continued education for educators. It good to have this course as a refresher and update. Somehow I have not been as concerned since I left social work, but after the presentation I have a new attitude about my role as a teacher.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 1998

Your right, alot of the information was stuff I've heard before but it doesn't hurt to review. I had a daycare provider whose husband was a cop, and she took care of a number of families who one of the parents were cops. I often heard stories about all the drug parties etc. that kids were involved in. I often knew the names and faces and whose homeroom they were in. And as someone else said in their entry the parents who were also involved. I was what I would now consider a heavy drinker. My friends and I started drinking beer in the 6th grade from the tapped keg in one of my friends parents basement bar. It did help that her father was a distributor of a fairly popular brew at the time. We drank ever Friday and Saturday night for several years. Although I never drank myself into blackouts etc. we were really into risk taking behaviors when we were high. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I had frequented many of the local pubs and had a number of fake ID's, which were very seldom looked at, to gain entry. College was similar...We always had a case or two in our fridge and usually started as soon as the last class for the day was finished. This behavior continued well into my first teaching position, although the amount consumed during the week lowered somewhat. The part that was always so frightening to me was the fact that our parents never seemed to know... or did they choose to ignore it? and what pain or issues were we trying to eliminate by the huge amounts we consumed? I probably, by Peg's definition, would be considered an abstainer now. On almost a weekly basis I am asked to become involved in assisting a school team in dealing with the behavioral issues of children with FAS and FAE. Had I known then what I know now would I have been the same kind of drinker? and what values do we instill in children by making alcohol and weed so readily available and socially acceptable??

-- Anonymous, October 26, 1998

Much of the material presented was familiar to me. What always amazes

me is the age that children begin experimenting and abusing drugs. It

was a major deal when I was in 5th or 6th grade to see or hear of

someone smoking a cigarette behind the school. Today, this is a minor

occurrence. In discussions with my children, they indicate that many

students drink regularly and come to school still under the influence.

My daughter is in 8th grade and my son is in 5th. In the Superior

school district, Just Say No Club starts in 4th grade - 6th grade

and the DARE program begins in grade 5. I talk quite often about drugs

and alcohol with my children. There are extended family members on my

husband's side who are alcoholics, so this topic has come up often. I

think that my chldren are well-informed and definitely know where we

stand on the issue.

I have had requests in parent education groups to get more information

on the subject of drug prevention. It is always interesting to hear

the discussion that results from issues that aren't typically brought

up. It surprised me how much history there was regarding drug use in

so many of the families I worked with. I had an excellent speaker

from Miller Dwan that spoke to parents of preschoolers regarding

prevention, who emphasized the importance of helping children learn to

make choices and to deal with the results of those choices. The

parents were grateful for the opportunity to discuss this subject

which is often overlooked, as Peg mentioned, in early childhood


I'm looking forward to listening to the panel of students next week!

-- Anonymous, October 26, 1998

I, too, am glad for the update on alcohol and drugs. It has been YEARS since I have listened to this kind of information.

The statement, "No drug can have an effect on the body that the body is not capable of producing all by itself," was a surprise to me. I have never been into physical activity enough to produce the "rush" that I have heard about. The bit about "drugs are easier" certainly makes sense. We all want a quick and easy route and the quick fix is readily available.

The categories of how we respond to drugs was more of an update: chemical, personal, environmental, and behavior, but some of the updated information in each was shocking. For example, the amount of children who are born with side effects of their mothers' drug and alcohol habits was disheartening. The medical and educational people working with these children certainly have a load to handle. Those poor innocent children. Also shocking was the short time to become addicted to crack cocaine and the effect it has on mothers: the total neglect of the children. The updated information on marijuana was very important. Peg said that marijuana these days is ten times stronger than it was in the '60s and that use by adolescents is way up. The "hippie" generation did a disservice to the next generations when it thought marijuana did not harm the body.

I have a niece whose child died after a week. The baby had a blood infection or disease. I never did quite find out the real facts, but "heard" that the problem came from the father who had been doing drugs. I never thought about the father's effect, only the mother's effect on an unborn child.

Peg gave us specific things to look for at the secondary level--my area of concern. The smell of gas or paint and the gold flecks on clothing indicate inhaling.

We teachers at all levels have a responsibility to look for changes in students and for signs of drug use. However, we don't always pick up on clues or sometimes hestitate because of repercusions. Asking students about their activities outside of school and the choices they make is a start on our responsibility to our students--even though it does not "fit" into our curriculum subject matter. I have set the "climate" in my classroom as I set the standards for my own children. We are surrogate parents to our students so we need to show care and concern by discussing topics like the choices students make. Being a parent is not an easy job, nor is the idea of being a surrogate parent, but the job is an important one.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 1998

I put my response for the threaded discussion under "Peg Mold's Presentation" You'll have to go there to read my response.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 1998

I called my eighth grade choir teacher last year to thank him for being such a great influence in my life, and we had a very nice discussion. He talked about kids then (the early 70's) and now, and decided that kids don't change all that much...just their environment. He said that all kids are looking for love and acceptance, (like I was), and that many teachers are able to experience relationships with their kids that are warm and friendly, but with high expectations regarding their personal behavior as well as their academic work. Most teachers try to do this, but it is a daunting task!

I can really understand how emotional development is stunted/stops when drugs and alcohol are used. Some people never really overcome that problem. I know a few adults who have yet to grow up... It made me think about what Dana said about how some kids can cope with terrible things and some kids turn to drugs and alcohol to mask or attempt to alleviate pain, shame, guilt. Is there a link in early learning of coping skills and which path children choose? I bet there is. A solid base of skills will help a child through some pretty tough times. I read a survey in a Lutheran Brotherhood magazine (which I had both of my children, 15 and 13 complete and I felt pretty relieved) regarding how much they were at risk for negative behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sex, risk taking behaviors, etc. It asked about perceived connections, comfort levels, activity levels, abilities, and self esteem, in areas of home, school, church, and community. It might as well have been named "It Takes a Village," LOL, because it really expressed the need for support from all of these places for a child to succeed.

Kids are getting mixed messages from all over and it's really hard to make good choices all of the time. It's hard enough for an adult to see the "big picture," and so it's just sooo important for parents to be informed, and have the ability to inform their children about responsible behavior and making good choices for themselves.

I think it will be interesting to hear what the panel of students have to say tomorrow night.

-- Anonymous, October 27, 1998

It is interesting to be one of the first to answer and then later read

all of your answers. I'm going to respond to a couple of things.

Number one....if you ever have a child in your classroom that you

believe is high or suspect is high, contact your principal

. right away and have that student taken out of your classroom FAST!

Remember you are the one that will be in trouble if anything goes

wrong in your classroom, or even if someone says that little so and

so was high in your class today. Don't put yourself and your

reputation at risk, let the principal deal with it and I.I.U.

Number two.......fourth graders? What happened to playing in the back

yard with G.I. Joes or hot wheels or Barbie dolls? Kids that are

doing drugs for entertainment at the fourth grade need some serious

reparenting! They don't just need to be warned about drugs. They need

a life! Hearing about kids this young involed in drugs of any kind

makes me nuts! I feel like I'm back with the level 5 and 6 EBD kids.

I really believe that children from SOMEWHAT normal home lives do not

get involved in this stuff this early. Something isn't right or this

would not be happening. As a society have we really thrown away an

entire generation of children for the sake of money and the second

income? Is no one watching or teaching our children anything EXCEPT

our school teachers? Now I'm really on a soap box.... as a single

parent who raised two good, talented, sports minded, scholarship

winning,moral and hard working sons, it really frosts me that

people aren't taking the time that's needed to see that a child has

the tools that they need to do well in this world of ours. NOW I


-- Anonymous, October 29, 1998

Dear All, Here is my attempt at an appology. I did NOT mean to come across as

a complete jerk or to imply that my children are perfect(they are not)

or that all the problems that kids have can be fixed by OR are

caused by parents(they can't). I also did not mean to imply that if

your child screws up that you are a bad parent. So if I offended

any of you please accept my appology. It was not intended. Please

chalk it up to the fact that I often do not explain the whole picture.

What my tyrade was about was this......Since 1974 I have worked with

disturbed kids. Back then I saw single Black mothers living in the

houseing projects in Chicago struggle to have a job and raise their

children with no help or resources. For the most part those kids

were lost to the streets. Older kids and crime are how they

entertained themselves. They were in great trouble by sixth or seventh

grade. Prior to that, those mothers were usually able to shield their

children from some things and to control them. Even at great odds,

those moms tried and Never gave up. Today I work with children whose

families face far fewer obsticles. Often there is a mom and a dad.

They have jobs, nice homes and yet they often seem to feel that the

energy that they have to expend to keep their child on the straight

and narrow, is more than they are willing to give. Over and over I

hear"I've tried everything to make him behave and I'm just to tired

to keep this up. I quit! From now on he's on his own if he screws

up." They are sometimes talking about a first or second grader! and

these are parents who have college educations. How sad to see that

parents think that it isn't their job to raise their child...NO

MATTER HOW HARD IT GETS! All of you who are parents know that some-

times it is VERY hard, but we can't give up. It is our job to shield

children from older children who might teach them things that they are

not ready to learn, from MTV, sexually explicit movies everything

that will rob them of their childhood. That's our job to protect them

from the junk that the world has untill they have the skills to cope

with it. So O.K. do you see sort of understand why I was ranting and

raving? I added the stuff about my own kids only to point out that

I did it as a single mom, and it was NOT easy. Did I want to walk

away from being a parent when my child came home drunk, or

when I found out that they had lied? YOU BET! But I didn't.

Well, now I have really gone on and on. I felt so badly that you all

might have taken my words the wrong way that I am actually here at UMD

at 10 on Sat. Morning. I'm getting so good at these computers it's

scary!! Have a nice weekend! And thanks Frank for the gentle prod.

I hope so.

-- Anonymous, October 31, 1998

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