After several Pleasanton parents were unable to attend last fall’s teen hosted by the , they decided another event just like it was necessary. The new event, however, would focus more greatly on middle school-aged children’s exposure to and use of drugs.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, ’s PFC and administration will host an informative and educational Drug Prevention Seminar open to parents of students attending middle school in Pleasanton.
“We are trying to format ours after (the event hosted by PUSD) because so many of our families couldn’t make it, but the people who did go just raved about it,” said Beth McCarthy, a mother of three, including a seventh grader at Hart Middle School and a Junior at .
Longtime Pleasanton resident Beth McCarthy loves the fact that Pleasanton is a wonderful community for raising children. The outpouring of volunteer support for the upcoming seminar, she believes, is proof positive of parents' desire to maintain Pleasanton's integrity as a family-focused city.
Spearheaded by a team of five PFC members, the event at Hart will feature speakers from Mothers with a Purpose, two former Hart Middle School students who currently attend Foothill, PUSD senior director of pupil services Kevin Johnson, Hart Principal Terry Conde, officers from the and representatives of Axis Community Health.
“We are gearing this towards middle school parents in Pleasanton,” said Janeen Brumm, an event committee member whose two sons attend Hart Middle School.
“It's going to be a highly informative evening, and we’ve opened it up to parents at all our middle schools in Pleasanton.”
McCarthy added that the event will touch on elementary and high school drug-related concerns. Parents of fifth graders who will attend Hart next year have also been invited.
The event is designed for adults, she stressed.
Hart Principal, Terry Conde will present information about drug use statistics at Hart and Pleasanton police are expected to address statistics from across the city, both on school campuses and in other areas of the city.
Brumm praised the members of Mothers With a Purpose.
“Their stories are so moving and make you realize, ‘Wow. This could happen to anyone,’” said Brumm.
Drug and alcohol use by middle school students may not be widely seen or discussed, said McCarthy.
“But it’s out there. I’ve got straight-A students and athletes. But the reality is there are kids that look just like that who get in trouble (with drugs and alcohol).”
McCarthy hopes the March 6 seminar will help parents to understand what to look for before their children enter high school.
At the event, any statistics directly related to Hart students’ drug or alcohol use will only address on-campus use leading to suspensions.
“Technically it can’t include what’s happening off campus,” said McCarthy.
“But we have the Pleasanton Police Department coming and they can talk about what’s going on in town, what drugs they are seeing in our community, where they are seeing (drugs) and where the kids are using them.”
When she began speaking to Mothers with a Purpose and the police department, McCarthy said she was shocked to learn of spots around town where drug use by teens has been seen – many times right out in the open.
“And I’d like to think that I’m a parent who is kind of in the know,” she said.
Her hope is that the police department will list many of these locations for parents at the March 6 seminar.
Event organizers were thrilled with the immediate response of the groups willing to present at the event, including the two students who will speak to those in attendance.
One of those high school students, she said, jumped at the chance to attend and speak to parents. The student, who McCarthy said has been through a rehab program, has seen how, when and where drugs are available at both middle and high schools.
Another topic at the seminar will be to help parents learn how to help their children increase their own active awareness of drugs and alcohol so they can better thrive and learn how to avoid poor decisions.
“It’s really hard if you’re trying not to be involved with drugs and you’re in an environment where it’s common.
“It’s just a reality,” said McCarthy. “And it’s not a new reality either. It’s just how we handle it and how we remain educated that is new.”
In a family-focused community, said McCarthy, people need to look out for each other.
She hopes that the enthusiasm of the event planning team will be contagious.
“Maybe it’ll be so successful that other middle schools will want to put on one of their own,” she said. “We’ll be happy to share our format with them!”
If you go:
What: Drug Prevention Seminar geared primarily to parents of children ages 10-14.
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 6
Where: Hart Middle School Multipurpose Room
Presenters: Hart Middle School PFC, Mothers with a Purpose, Pleasanton Police Department, Axis Community Health, Hart Middle School Principal, Terry Conde, Pleasanton Unified School District senior director of pupil services Kevin Johnson.
Open To: Public, but parents are advised to attend without their children.
RSVP: Recommended but not required, to Janeen Brumm, email@example.com