The Parental Component

Steered Straight performs motivational presentations that impact the minds of students and reiterate the messages that they get from their teachers, from the agencies and organizations in place to divert substance abuse, and most importantly, from their parents.

The parental component of this message is so very important that Steered Straight has a Parental Awareness Presentation that can precede or follow up the visit to the students.

At the very least, Steered Straight would work with the host organization to invite parents to the student presentation, and include some materials for parents to review when educating their children about drugs and alcohol.

We urge you to read the following article. It makes this point that this parental component is ABSOLUTELY necessary to effectively reach our youth and ensure that the message is a lasting one, not a passing one.

Wednesday, September 5, 12:54 PM ET
Study Says Illegal Drugs Infesting Many Schools
by Sue Pleming

Washington (Reuters) -- Illegal drugs are infesting many of America's schools where a zero tolerance policy has done little to curb youth drug use, a report released on Wednesday found.

The report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York, estimated about 60 percent of U.S. high school students -- or 9.5 million -- were at schools where drugs were used, kept or sold.

In middle school, the report said 30 percent of children -- almost 5 million -- were at schools where drugs were kept or available for sale.

"Drugs and alcohol have infested our schools and threaten our children and their ability to learn and develop their talents," Joseph Califano, CASA president, told a news conference to release the report.

The report also concluded substance abuse and addiction would add at least $41 billion to the costs of elementary and secondary education this year in terms of special education, teacher turnover, truancy, property damage, injury, counseling and other costs.

The study estimated students who attended schools where drugs were used, kept or sold, were nearly three times more likely to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs than students whose schools were "substance-free."

It also found relatively few students who experimented with drugs, alcohol or cigarettes discontinued their use in later years. Among students who tried cigarettes in earlier grades, 85.7 percent were still smoking in the 12th grade. Similar results were found for drugs and alcohol.

The report, called "Malignant Neglect: Substance Abuse and America's Schools," is based on an analysis of six years of surveys, focus groups, and field investigations. It was the first report of its kind done by CASA and so no comparative statistics were available.


Califano said parents "raised hell" and refused to send their children to school when classrooms were infested with asbestos, but did not have the same response when schools were filled with illegal drugs.

"When parents feel as strongly about drugs in our schools as they do about asbestos, we will have drug-free schools," he said.

Califano, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Carter administration, said the drug and substance abuse problem in America's schools was exacerbated by persistent finger-pointing and denial -- parents blamed schools and teachers blamed parents while school administrators cited a lack of community support.

"It is time for each of us to stop looking out the window and start looking in the mirror," he said.

In a bid to reduce classroom substance abuse, many schools have relied on zero tolerance policies which mandate suspension or expulsion of a student caught smoking, drinking or using illegal drugs.

Califano said it was obvious strict zero-tolerance policies over drugs were not working. While they sent a strict no-use message, they also encouraged parents and students to remain silent over such problems.

"Moreover, too few schools with such policies work with troubled students to get them into treatment; even fewer offer the hope of return to school to help motivate such students to enter and complete treatment," he said.

The report said substance abuse was higher in rural than in urban schools. Also, as students aged they were less likely to report another student who was using or selling drugs at school.

Among 12-year-olds, 82 percent said they would report a classmate who was dealing drugs at school but by age 17, only 37 percent of students said they would do this.

Steered Straight meets the recommendations of CASA and presents information that is current, informative and beneficial. We conduct a Parental Awareness Seminar that addresses the trends among our kids.

Whether it be the suburbs, or the inner city, we present the information that is unique to that town or city. We use local stories and examples to bring the message home.

We never tell parents how to raise their children. We simply, but effectively, furnish them with information, resources, and materials while giving them a presentation about our organization and its purpose.

We realize that it is very difficult to get the parents out to the school for a meeting. Parents are busy working, or have many other obligations.

Accordingly, we work with the school S.A.C. or counselor to reach out to these parents and build the motivation for them to come.

We also have literature that can be sent to the parents that gives them enough local information and statistics to entice them to see the importance of being involved.

Our Parental Awareness Seminar is $750 and we present this seminar either before or after the school presentation.

Direct inquiries and comments to:
Surface Mail: Steered Straight, Inc.;
P.O. Box 842
Millville, NJ 08332-0842
Telephone: (973) 751-2227