Wauseon Board of Education members received an eye-opening sample of alcohol and drug statistics among Fulton County teens at a meeting held Monday.
High school seniors Amanda Hammontree, Samantha Beaton, and Kris Moebs presented facts and figures as members of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of Healthy Choices Caring Communities (HC3), a drug-free coalition through the Fulton County Health Department. The group is dedicated to reducing drinking and drug abuse among teenagers.
The students were accompanied by their advisor, Karen Pennington.
They quoted statistics from a health status report HC3 conducts every two years. The latest includes data from a survey given to county students in grades 6-12 in September.
According to the results, nine percent of students in those grades used alcohol in the past 30 days. It’s provided by parents, older friends or siblings, with parents increasing availability over the past two years.
Seven percent of the students have used marijuana in the past 30 days, an increase over the HC3 assessment of two years ago.
Six percent of the students have used prescription drugs and smoked cigarettes over the past 30 days. For those in the 17- and 18-year-old range, prescription drug use was 15 percent.
“Those numbers are definitely going up as kids are getting older,” said Hammontree, who gave that report.
She said YAC is developing strategies to combat alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. They include hosting community events; offering “Continue the Conversation,” a social media event that offers parents way to discuss the topics with their children; school programming and safe “after prom” activities; and conducting compliance checks with retail establishments that sell alcohol.
YAC is comprised of 48 high school students from six of the county’s seven school districts. About a dozen are from Wauseon.
Beaton said YAC has introduced her to a lot of other students with the same beliefs.
“It’s really difficult to make an impact when you’re just one person. But if you have a group of people like we have it’s so much easier to be able to explain your point of view of different topics,” she said.
Pennington said the council “just formed a support group across the county.”
In other business, the school board accepted the following donations: an approximately $600 blocking/tackling sled from Wauseon Midget football; $8,575 from Wauseon Athletic Boosters to purchase a pool scoreboard; and a $200 Wauseon Elementary School food pantry gift from Mel and Diane Nofziger.
The board also approved several personnel items for the 2016-17 school year: the resignation of Michael Marshall, sixth grade math teacher, who retires effective May 31, 2017; a one-year limited athletic contract to Mike Webster to be a junior high track coach; Marcel Barajas, Halle Floss, Timber Kreiner, Olivia Leininger, Kennedy Lillich, Jacob Raabe, and Brendan Wilson as student workers for the athletic department; Todd Bingham, Kevin Kreiner, and Chris Zirkle as Archery Club volunteers; and Jack Croninger and Jodi Summers as volunteer softball coaches, pending receipt of a clean background check.
Other appointments included board member Larry Fruth being named representative to the Four County Career Center Board of Education for a three-year term beginning in January 2017; and Doug Holthues, to a seven-year term on the Wauseon Public Library Board of Trustees from January 2017 through December 2023.
A motion was passed to approve 21 additions, revisions or replacements to the NEOLA Bylaw Policy, including principal and administrator evaluations, special education, group health plans, and web content and services. The company develops and updates school board bylaws and policies, and administrative guidelines and procedures, among other services, for school systems.
And motions were passed to approve modifications and supplemental modifications for Fiscal Year 2017 Permanent Appropriations and Certificate of Resources.
In building reports:
• Primary School Principal Blake Young told board members 96 percent of parents participated in teacher-parent conferences.
He also reported that the school received a grant from the United Way to start an after school program, which will likely begin near the end of January.
Students participated in a coin drive that earned about $1,000, which was given to the local Knights of Columbus organization to purchase gifts for less fortunate families.
And the students will be treated to a mini lock-in at the school on Friday from 6-9 p.m. Snacks and a movie will be provided.
• At the Elementary School, Principal Theresa Vietmeier said attendance for teacher-parent conferences for grades 3-5 reached 95 percent.
She said the student body as a whole is currently at 65 percent math fluency for the school year.
She also reported that several speakers have spoken to students about their careers, including Toni Schindler, marketing director for the Fulton County Commissioners.
• Middle School Principal Joe Friess said eighth grade students are visiting Four County Career Center this week to learn what’s offered. “Some are genuinely excited about going,” he said.
He said the Junior Honor Society, Student Council, and the school’s FCA chapter are involved in holiday projects to benefit less fortunate families.
• High School Principal Keith Leatherman reported the Agriculture Business class became involved in Toys For Cheer.
The school is hosting the Annual Wauseon Rotary speech tournament this weekend.
The school board entered into executive session for the discussion of the purchase and/or sale of real estate. After resuming the meeting the board approved the purchase of property.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.