An incident earlier this week involving student athletes using cocaine has prompted Central Valley School District officials to begin serious discussions of ways to address student decision making and choices.
“Most residents acknowledge the presence of drugs in the community. Our school is an extension of that community, so we shouldn’t be surprised when drugs turn up in our school. It is time for a long overdue conversation about ways to correct it,” said Rich Hughes, Central Valley Superintendent of Schools.
On Tuesday, Oct. 6, four student athletes were discovered using cocaine on school property. The district immediately notified the Ilion Police Department who assisted in investigating the incident. The district disciplined the students in accordance with school policy. The police continue to investigate the source of the drugs and possible legal charges.
“The district, law enforcement and the involved parents reacted quickly and appropriately to address the particular incident. Because the students are minors, we can say little more about what took place,” Dr. Hughes said.
“The bigger issue is that we, as a school and a community, need to step back ask ourselves what we are going to do to recognize the community’s problem and to take positive steps to address it. We know as a school, that we need to empower students to make smart decisions. We also know we can’t do that alone, especially if the local culture ignores the problem or thinks it’s isolated to a particular neighborhood or social or economic group. Drugs in our society cross all socio-economic boundaries.”
Dr. Hughes said the board of education has encouraged him to reach out to local, county and state officials and to residents to begin a serious conversation and to seek solutions.
“The easy answer is stronger discipline, but the ‘War on Drugs’ proved that punishment alone doesn’t work. We need to teach our students and model positive, healthy behavior,” Dr. Hughes said.
He added that his next blog post on the school website will offer some ideas to tackle the problem, including ways to involve the entire community.
“This is not about one incident; this is about a much broader problem that endangers the future of all our Thunder. Our children are precious and we cannot afford to let any of them fall,” he said.