Message from the Superintendent: Drugs & CISD
Dear CISD Family,
We often hear, and even say, that those who live in the Coppell ISD boundaries, live within a “bubble.” I believe it is time for us to “burst that bubble” and address an important issue we need to take seriously — drug abuse within our community.
Drug abuse does not have a zip code. It does not discriminate in favor of the suburbs. It is a fluid problem in every city, town and neighborhood. Those who do not think drug abuse is happening in our community are either misinformed or in denial. It is time to get our heads out of the sand, put our judgement away and address this issue as a community.
Last week, Rick Calvert, Assistant United States Attorney Northern District of Texas, spoke to our high school students and staff about Drugs & the Opioid Epidemic, and also gave a Parent University presentation on the topic. You can access a video of his presentation here. It is eye-opening and heart wrenching to hear the impact of this epidemic on our own former students, several of whom have died from overdoses or are currently in prison as a result of their drug use. These victims are our children and no one is immune to the dangers of drug abuse; no one. And if one in our community has suffered, then it's one too many. We have to take the shame out of discussing this issue and be there to support each other. I am so grateful and applaud the efforts of one of our own, Pinkerton PE teacher Colleen Michaelis, for sharing her story of the tragic death of her incredible son to drugs with the Dallas Morning News.
Frequent comments made to the district about this issue include: “We don’t have a drug problem. The district is trying to hide a drug problem and isn’t doing anything about it. Or, my kid doesn’t have a drug problem, only bad kids do, so this isn’t my problem.”
I strongly believe that not only is drug use by our students all of our problem; it is imperative for us to work together to address it. We have to admit that drug use is a problem and do all we can as a community to solve this issue.
So what is CISD doing about it? We are increasing awareness amongst our “bubble” by bringing speakers such as Mr. Calvert to speak to our students and community. We also have a strong partnership with our Coppell Police Department, Irving Police Department and Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, who work with us every day to address the issue of drugs at our schools. Wands and drug dogs often are at our secondary schools searching the premises and students. Though federal privacy laws limit what can be shared, I can tell you there have been several recent arrests of our high school students for drug possession. As a district, we are taking a firm stance with this issue.
Parents also play a crucial role in drug prevention. We need to know where our kids are and who they are hanging out with, especially if there are new friend groups. Limit access to prescription drugs at home that often are gateways to heroin use. Searching and monitoring phones is part of being a parent today. As parents, we should be checking our kids phones on a daily basis. Our police department also offers free drug tests to parents. While you may not want to or have cause to drug test your children, if you make them aware that you will, this allows them to say, when offered drugs, “My parents drug test me, so no.” As we keep, “If you see something; say something,” in mind; I remind you that CISD has an anonymous tip line at www.coppellisd.com/tipline or by calling 972-436-TIPS (8477).
Drugs and alcohol abuse often go hand-in-hand. On April 4, the district will be presenting “Shattered Dreams” to high school students in the CHS Arena and parking lot. This real-time enactment of drunk driving, crash, death and its aftermath brings a harrowing exposure of the preciousness of life and how one bad decision can “shatter” your and your families lives.
By sharing this heavy topic with our CISD community this week, I am hopeful that we are taking a step in the right direction to admit our problem, work together to make it better and, ultimately, save lives.