Editor’s note: The BLMS Parent Academy “Hidden in Plain Sight” scheduled for this Wednesday, Jan. 25, is being postponed and moved to Wednesday, Feb. 1, due to poor weather conditions expected Jan. 25.
“Most of our presenters are traveling considerable distances, so in order to be cautious and to ensure a quality program; we have secured their participation for Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Benjamin Logan Middle School Commons,” school officials said.
With the goal of working with parents to protect students, Benjamin Logan Middle School will offer the first of several Parent Academy sessions on Wednesday evening, Feb. 1, in the BLMS commons.
Titled Hidden in Plain Sight, this educational program for parents and guardians will address the potential dangers of vaping and drugs for kids.
“Over the last two years we’ve seen an increase in exposure to electronic devices like vape, dab and CART pens, which are easily accessible online as well as at local businesses,” Scott Frederick, BLMS principal, said. “We’ve also seen an increase in suspension for the possession, use and distribution of vape pens in the school setting.”
With that in mind, the BLMS administrative team decided this was a pertinent topic … and the right one to start their Parent Academy series. The academy will eventually cover other topics like bullying, social media, anxiety, marijuana, dating and, in March, the dangers of the internet and screen time in a session titled Digital Empowerment.
Developed as one of the school’s building goals, these educational and informative evenings are designed to guide parents as they help their children in today’s society. The academy is for adults in the Benjamin Logan community only, specifically the parents of students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and is offered at no cost to attendees. No children will be allowed.
The Feb. 1 academy will feature several guest speakers, starting with Benjamin Logan School District Superintendent John Scheu, who will share a personal family tragedy involving drugs. Other presenters include Captain Dennis Eng, director at the Greene County A.C.E. Task Force/HIDTA, who has experience working with the FBI and Homeland Security, and Cecilia Yelton, director of Community and School-based Prevention, Mental Health & Recover Services Board for Logan & Champaign Counties and an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist (OCPS).
Eng will talk about the nature of vape stores in Ohio and how the police departments are working in this area, while Yelton will give each parent in attendance a free workbook as part of her presentation.
One unique highlight to the evening will be a fabricated bedroom, which is part of “Hidden In Plain Sight,” a drug awareness program for parents. The room will be set up by two employees with the Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services: Julia Rose, CHES, OCPS coordinator of prevention, education and training, and Brad Reed, director of community engagement. Parents are invited to arrive at the school commons at 5:45 Wednesday night to explore the room.
This walk-through experience will offer insights into what kinds of equipment kids use as well as where they hide things, what everyday items may indicate risky behavior, and what signs to look for to determine drug and alcohol use. The main presentation will then start at 6 p.m. and last until around 7:30 p.m., though the speakers will hang around as long as the parents are there to answer questions and offer advice.
“Vape pens are today’s new ‘gateway drugs’ and are more dangerous than the cigarettes or marijuana we had as kids because of what they’re laced with,” Frederick said. “They’re seen as not harmful and that’s not true.”
For instance, many of these pens contain other drugs, from flavored nicotine to marijuana to methamphetamine or even fentanyl, which can lead to addiction and even loss of life.
For Frederick, it comes down to protecting Benjamin Logan students — and working with parents to do so.
“We’re trying to take preventative measures so we don’t lose any students,” he said.
To find out more about the Parent Academy, please contact the BLMS office at (937) 599-2386.