Darien High School students participating in sports or extracurricular activities must attend a workshop about illegal substances presented by the school starting in late August, and the schedule for the workshops has just been announced.
Students participating in fall sports programs (or extracurricular activities in the early part of the school year) need to attend the workshops held on or before Sept. 10 (or before Sept. 9 for students in Grades 11 and 12).
The workshops begin on Aug. 26 (for students in Grades 9 and 10) and on Aug. 27 for 11th and 12th graders. The full schedule is at the bottom of this article.
The workshops, which have been held in previous years, are meant to keep students and their families informed about problems students have with substance abuse.
Students participating in fall sports programs (or extracurricular activities in the early part of the school year) need to attend the workshops held on or before Sept. 10 (or before Sept. 9 for students in Grades 11 and 12). The workshops begin on Aug. 26 (for students in Grades 9 and 10) and on Aug. 27 for 11th and 12th graders. The full schedule is at the bottom of this article.
The workshops are different for students in Grades 9 and 10 (who take “Session 1” workshops, offered on various dates) and those in Grades 11 and 12 (“Session 2”).
In two sets of emails sent to students and families, DHS Principal Ellen Dunn described the two types of workshops (we’ve moved one paragraph below to the second paragraph and third paragraph of this article, above):
“The ninth and tenth grade workshop [Session 1] will be a one hour panel format in which experts discuss the impact of vaping in the lives of our students,” Dunn wrote in an email for students and families in those grades. “We are confident that this discussion, including school personnel and other top professionals in their respective fields of study, will be of the highest quality.”
For students in the two higher grades, Dunn wrote in the other email, Session 2 “will be a panel discussion focused on the “why” of teen substance use.”
Here’s the full text of Dunn’s letter to the juniors and seniors (exactly like the letter to those in earlier grades, except for the description of the session, quoted above).
Dear DHS students (Grades 11 and 12) and families,
The Darien Public Schools believe that we must do everything possible to support our students in making good decisions. The Standards of Behavior Governing Participation in Extracurricular and Athletic Activities at Darien High School emphasizes educating students and families in understanding the impact of illegal substances on health and wellness and can be viewed by following this link.
In an effort to utilize education as a tool for change, we are requiring all students in Grades 11 and 12 (and at least one parent or guardian) who plan to participate in extracurricular [activities] (all club-related activities such as Model UN, Theatre 308, and Debate Club) or athletic activities to attend one workshop related to the use of illegal substances.
Attendance is required once a school year, and the workshop must be completed by the student and guardian prior to participation in the extracurricular or athletic activity (with the exception of the fall season, which must be completed by Sept. 9 , 2019).
We are aware that a small percentage of our students do not participate in DHS extracurriculars/athletics; however we encourage and welcome all Darien High School students and their parents to participate in these workshops.
Students in Grades 11 and 12 will participate in Session 2 this year, which will be a panel discussion focused on the “why” of teen substance use.
We are confident that these presentations, led by our own DHS staff and other top professionals in their respective fields of study, will be of the highest quality.
Session 2 workshops will take place at DHS and will be offered on the following dates/times:
Aug. 27, 2019 (Tuesday), 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 9, 2019 (Monday), 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Students in Grades 11 and 12 and their parents/guardians must sign-up in advance to attend one of the Session 2 dates above, using this link. Failure to participate by Sept. 9 will result in non-participation in the fall extracurricular or athletic activity until completion of the workshop can be coordinated through the high school administration.
Once again, each student, accompanied by a parent/guardian is required to attend the workshop only once per year. The Session 2 workshop will be offered one more time, on Nov. 14, for those participating later in the school year. (Session 1 workshops for Grades 9 and 10 will be offered as well, and the dates scheduled are included in the table below).
We know that the demands on your time are endless and that participation in this program requires a commitment from our families. We thank you for partnering with us to make a difference in the lives of our students today and in the future by improving their understanding of the impact of drug and alcohol use.
By working together with one voice and opening an honest dialogue with our teens, we believe we can empower them to make more informed decisions that will protect their health and well-being.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by phone or email.
Ellen Dunn, Principal
Editor’s note: This article originally was published Aug. 14. The time stamp, headline and first paragraphs were changed when it was republished as a reminder to readers on Aug. 26.