ENCOURAGING POSITIVE BEHAVIORS
As we wind down to the end of the school year, there are a number of events or activities conducted to reinforce the importance of positive behaviors and good choices among our students. I would like to review a few of the issues and highlight the elements related to them.
This is not an annual event, but is an activity that is conducted periodically to encourage students to consider the consequences of drinking and driving. The mock crash was set for Friday, April 25, during the school day for students in grades 9 through 12.
Last week’s Cold Spring Record provided a great deal of detail related to the Mock Crash. It is sponsored by the RHS RADD organization (ROCORI Against Destructive Decisions) and supported by many community businesses and organizations.
The mock crash scene encourages the students and community members to think about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It is also focused on issues of distracted driving. The idea is to help students understand that accidents can happen at any time and that there are very serious effects when an accident occurs.
The timing of the Mock Crash is intended to encourage students to think about the consequences in light of upcoming events—prom, graduation, and other spring activities.
GRAND MARCH AT PROM
Although it is not the primary function of the Grand March, one of the reasons to conduct the event is also to encourage and promote positive decisions among students attending Prom.
Certainly, the Grand March is an opportunity for the students to be introduced and be celebrated. It is an opportunity to showcase the formal attire of the event and to recognize the students involved.
At the same time, conducting a Grand March encourages positive student behaviors. Students attend the Grand March, most likely, after having a Prom meal but in advance of the dance. Walking through the Grand March as a public activity discourages students from making potentially harmful decisions like drinking alcohol, using other chemicals, or engaging in other harmful activities.
The night of graduation is often a time of celebration. The seniors have completed thirteen years of school and want to celebrate the accomplishment. As a school system, we also want to celebrate their achievements.
For a long time, the ROCORI senior parents have sponsored an all-night graduation party for the seniors. The idea behind the party is to allow the members of the class one last opportunity to be together—but also to encourage positive and responsible behaviors. If the seniors are involved in a sponsored, structured program, decisions to use alcohol, drugs, or make other destructive decisions are minimized.
Although we do not have them specifically scheduled or announced, there are times when the High School implements drug dog searches at the secondary site. There are a number of reasons for which to engage the searches and we implement them as needed.
One of the reason for random searches is to encourage appropriate decision-making all through the year. If the time for searches is not known, it is more likely that we can discourage inappropriate decisions.
There are particular points, however, at which searches may be engaged. If we learn of conditions where it is likely that drugs are present at the site, that becomes a likely opportunity to engage the dogs. If there are times of the year where drug activity is more likely (around special events or activities), that is a likely opportunity to engage the dogs. If we have not conducted a search for a period of time, it is likely that we would engage the dogs as well.
There are times when the dog searches clearly identify the presence of chemicals in the school site. There are other times when the searches come up empty. Regardless of the outcome, the presence of the dogs and the conduct of the search typically have the effect of encouraging positive choices and behaviors among students.
SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER
Although the engagement of the services of a School Resource Officer is not a special event, part of the function and purpose of having a resource officer is to encourage student safety and positive decision-making. The mere presence of the officer helps students to feel more supported and secure.
We ask the SRO to engage with students throughout the day and the school year. In part, it is to build relationships but, in part, the idea is to have a law enforcement presence in our school setting. The presence of a law enforcement official reminds students of the support and assistance available to them.
The conclusion of a school year is a time at which there are many events and activities. Many of those events are cause for celebration and, potentially, opportunities for dangerous decisions. As a district, we want to take advantage of those times as opportunities to encourage positive, productive decisions. We organize and structure elements around the natural activities to help support students in making healthy choices.