Parochial school takes prevention up a notch

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 19, 2008

There are plenty of us who rarely drive without buckling our seat belts, even though we’ve never been in a collision.

That’s the nature of prevention.

We take precautions knowing they may never prove to have been necessary or appropriate.

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That’s just what administrators, faculty, parents and community leaders have been doing on behalf of students at Vicksburg Catholic School.

They may not be able to avert a tragedy involving underage drinking, but they’ve shown a willingness to learn as much as they can and confront the topic head-on.

In a step Sheriff Martin Pace hailed as realistic, the school’s administrators are requiring parents of ninth- through 12th-graders to attend one of four information sessions on teens and drinking. If at least one parent does not attend a meeting, a student will be barred from the homecoming dance this week or prom next spring.

As we reported in Monday’s edition, there was a fear that some parents might see this as “meddling” or usurping their roles. The better view is that it’s very much the concern of educators whether students are imbibing and that the school’s action is supportive of the parental role — far from being at cross purposes.

Statistically, it’s a certainty that some young people will experiment with alcohol. Some with drugs. Nothing new about that.

Indeed, students themselves were candid in anonymous interviews about alcohol use.

Given that reality, the remaining question is what to do about it. And the answer, at Vicksburg Catholic School, is for parents to talk to each other and to get tips and hear insights from community experts, including Pace, who deal with the topic on a regular basis.

Yes, said Jennifer Henry, Vicksburg Catholic administrator, the school has means and methods to catch and punish offenders.

How much better, though, to take reasonable, sensible precautions. It’s why we buckle our seat belts. It’s not that hard, and even though it may not avert a collision or even a tragedy, it’s sensible to do what we can to boost the odds in our favor.