The school district’s strict alcohol and other drug prevention steering committee is beginning a three-year plan focused on prevention, intervention and restorative plans, the district announced earlier this month.
The district plans life skills education in grades 4 – 9; increased parent education opportunities; increased student activities to connect students to school; and formation of a youth advisory called Catalyst Club.
Laguna students have tried alcohol during their lifetime at a rate that exceeds statewide figures, said Irene White, director of special education and member of the 16-agency Laguna Beach Community Coalition.
Parents are the most influential people in a child’s decision to abstain or experiment with alcohol, said White. Given their brain development, teenagers lack understanding of the consequences of their choices regarding drugs and alcohol, she said. Teen drinkers are at greater risk of addiction, risky sexual behavior and other drug use as well as academic problems, she said.
School officials teamed up with the Laguna Beach Community Coalition, proponents of a proposed citywide Social Host Ordinance that would penalize adults for providing liquor to underage minors.
“Knowledge is power and the Laguna Beach Unified School District continues to educate its students about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs,” said El Morro Elementary Principal Chris Duddy. “We also teach students about resilience so they won’t give in to peer pressure, yet we cannot do it alone. That is why we are partnering with parents and the Community Coalition in our education and prevention efforts.”