DEA brings education programs to schools
Aspen Times Staff Writer
The Aspen School District will receive two full days of health and wellness education this week with a visit from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The two-day forum, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, will include DEA agents and educators from the organization’s office in Denver, said ASD Superintendent Tom Farrell. Expected speakers include a Denver physician considered to be an expert on the effects of marijuana.
This particular speaker, Farrell hopes, will shed new light on a touchy subject.
“Kids today believe that marijuana is not harmful to you,” he said. “Right now, in our country, there is not a perceived risk in using weed.”
The DEA visit was conceived in mid-December during a communitywide forum on drug use among local youth. This forum, the response to a recent drug bust at Aspen High School, gave DEA representatives the chance to meet with concerned community members, Farrell said.
“We invited the DEA to come up and sit in on the forum, and they heard the concern,” he said. “They came up after that and said, ‘If you want to do a conference, we’ll do one for you.'”
The DEA forum will begin at 8:15 a.m. Thursday when representatives host the Aspen High School Parent Breakfast – a monthly mixer for school administration and families – in the AHS Seminar Room.
Assemblies for all AHS students, grades nine through 12, will follow on Thursday afternoon, Farrell said. Student assemblies will continue Friday morning when Aspen Middle School’s seventh- and eighth-graders will meet with the DEA delegation.
School district staff will also be included in the drug-education drive on Friday afternoon. The district will dismiss classes at 12:30 p.m. Friday to allow all teachers and administrators – from kindergarten through high school – to attend a half-day program with the DEA.
“Some people would say, ‘Well, why would the elementary school teachers be going to that?’ But that’s where it starts,” Farrell explained. “It starts with 5-, 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year-old children feeling lousy about themselves, and coming from a drug-infected family.”
Teachers will be updated on national drug trends, and will discuss ways to spot drug use in their own community.
“That’s two very intense days of drug education at no cost to us,” Farrell said.
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