Pubdate: Wed, 15 Feb 2006
Source: Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2006 Lake of Two Mountains Gazette Ltd.
Author: Jen Baumeister
Bookmark: (Youth)


The tragic loss of a young teen to drugs is both horrific and 
terrifying. We as a community must do everything possible to prevent 
such a tragedy from occurring again.

There has been a fair amount of finger-pointing in the media towards 
the town for not having enough recreation facilities. Yes, the kids 
need more avenues for safe socialization but this job does not rest 
solely on the rec department or schools.

The 'not my little Johnny, not my problem' attitude is irresponsible 
parenting. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there are a many little 
johnnies and johnettes dabbling in the drug culture. As parents we 
need to take our heads out of the sand, open our eyes and educate ourselves.

We need to know the signs and clues that our child might be 
experimenting or using drugs. Many, if not all, of our kids know 
about the drug scene so we as parents should also. Do you have any 
idea what a nike or pink tweetie is, or what they look like? From 
what I managed to weasel out of my teen, a pink tweetie is one of the 
types of ecstasy and a nike is speed, both of which are apparently 
available locally.

We as parents need to know where and with whom our kids are hanging 
out with and make contact with their parents. (One of my tricks is to 
have my teen call from the home she is, not from her cell phone - 
call display is worth every penny!)

We need greater communication between the schools and parents. The 
schools have web sites, which should be updated with the current 
calendar of school activities, clubs, newsletters, parent forums, 
etc. If parents have greater knowledge of what is going on at school 
they may be able to persuade their teen to be more active in the 
school environment.

Entertainment and recreation facilities would be great to have 
locally, but we don't. A shuttle bus to the Kirkland Colisee on 
Friday nights would help get many kids off the street corner. A 
service like this would be well used and it would give our kids some 
of the independence and freedom they strive for. Likewise, a shuttle 
to Rigaud for night skiing one or two nights a week would also be well used.

Social interaction between parents and the community patrol would 
help open communication channels and help build the solid base we 
need to help us raise our children. Perhaps a monthly casual social 
activity for parents, community patrol, town council, rec department 
staff, IGA staff (I bet they know a fair amount about what our kids 
are up to on their lunch break). A parents night out might act as a 
deterrent to some teens if they know mum and dad are on a first name 
basis with more eyes and ears in town.

We as a community cannot stand back and make it someone else's job to 
raise our children. Drugs will always be around but we can make them 
much less appealing to our youth with communication, education, 
recreation, and a proactive stance.

Jen Baumeister
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman