LEAVITTSBURG, Ohio (WKBN) – The drug epidemic has a ripple effect, impacting more than just the person using. It’s tearing families apart and in some cases, leaving kids without a mom and dad.
Schools are in a unique situation to deal with this kind of tragedy in the lives of students. Being proactive instead of reactive is the approach the LaBrae School District is taking with drug education.
For one teacher, it’s not just talking about prevention — it’s about listening and sharing her story.
Amy Rutherford is a physical education and health teacher. She knows there are students impacted by the drug epidemic.
“We do open conversations. What do they know? What have they seen?” Rutherford said. “They’ve seen family members. They are coming from homes that there is drug abuse.”
Rutherford and her colleagues attend workshops and meetings to find resources to help students.
“I’m the mother of a recovering addict so with the drugs, I hit really hard in that area. From a mother, to a teacher, to a community member,” said Amy Frederick, the school’s advisor for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
Frederick said students are coming to her and talking with their teachers. Teachers discuss how serious the drug problem is in Trumbull County.
“[Students] ask a lot of questions and they don’t have the attitude where, ‘oh, it’s not going to hurt me.’ They understand,” Rutherford said.
LaBrae High School is also working on an at-risk program for next school year.
“Focus in on addressing these underlying causes. Why aren’t these students being successful? What types of supports can we provide in the building to help these students be successful?” Principal Jeff Starkey said.
Rutherford will be part of the program, which comes with a chance for her to reach out to more students.
“The more it’s stressed, the more they can talk about it,” she said.