It’s been a bumpy ride for me lately so when Weber School District invited me to attend a seminar given by Jeremy Galloway, I hesitated. I didn’t even check him out. Today, the morning of the seminar, I decided not to go. Yet, something inside of me said I needed to be there. I pulled myself out of bed, got ready, and went.
I headed to the Weber Innovation High School. I’d never heard of this school and wondered if it was just Two Rivers revamped. It isn’t. I was running a little late so I headed into the seminar leaving my curiosity in the hallway.
The seminar was disturbing. It wasn’t what I expected. It was a passionate cop teaching us old folk everything about street drugs. You know those jeans (and I do own a pair), ‘Not Your Daughter’s Jeans’? Well, I’ve named this seminar, ‘Not The Pot Your Mom Smoked.’ I thought I was drug savvy. I was wrong. Dead wrong. And, frankly, I fear for my grandkids. The ‘I can do anything and not feel bad about it’ culture is toxic!
Currently, Utah has one of the highest death rates due to opioid overdoses. We better wake up, Utah! I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it now, drug use is slow suicide. Overdoses are suicide.
At lunch, I walked out in the hallway. I’ve never been real comfortable making small talk. I stood there feeling a little uncomfortable and then he caught my eye. A young student was sitting by himself. “I’m going to talk to him!” I thought. And so I did. I wondered over and sat down next to this curly-headed young man and said hello. He was surprisingly open to this 54-year-old authority figure. He looked like someone I would have hung out with in HS – a bit of a rebel. I asked him about the school. I wanted to know if it was a Two Rivers type of school or a charter school. It was neither. He explained that he chose to be there. He was obviously intelligent and refreshingly self-aware. He explained it was a self paced 9th – 12th high school. I excitedly shared, “Hey, just like the school I went to called Stepping Out.” Then we were joined by two more of his friends – two girls. I asked them the same questions. “Why are you here?” Their replies were the same as the young mans’. These kids were here to excell.
As we got to know each other a bit better, they opened up a little more. And this is where it got interesting. One of the girls told me how she used to cut. She explained that at her old mainstream school even with obvious fresh wounds, not one teacher would say anything. I was stunned. And yet, I wasn’t. She said that she didn’t want anyone to talk to her about it but secretly she longed that they would. She sadly explained that when they didn’t, she lost all hope that she was worth anything. Then she lit up as she explained at this school they do! All three kids got excited and said the teachers there know their names. “They CARE!” They said! Funny thing….The student to teacher ratio is really high! How is it they can have less teachers and still these kids feel cared for? This is a secret all teachers need to learn.
We talked for a while longer. It was a wonderful conversation. I sat on the floor with them and then they helped me up when I couldn’t gracefully get up on my own. We all laughed. I felt old. I expressed my pure joy in knowing they found ways to be happy and to excel out of hard situations. I made sure they saw in themselves the strength of character I saw. We hugged. I made sure they had a SafeUt card and my phone number. We all went back to class.
During the entire seminar, the same thought arose over and over. ‘We can’t stop the drugs.’ Now what? The only option left is to love the kids and give them resilience tools. We can’t arrest the drug dealers fast enough. We can’t stop the designer drugs promoted by pop stars. We can’t be there every second of every day to protect them. We CAN talk about the problems. As adults, we can learn coping methods. We can teach our children. We can teach them that making mistakes is human. And more importantly, they won’t be shamed when they do.
We are in crises management mode. It’s not working. We are losing our children.
Love everyone in your life. Your children will feel far more secure if you do. You don’t have to like everyone, but you can love everyone. Get educated so you can see the signs. These are not the same drugs you remember when you were growing up. The chefs behind these drugs are clever, quick moving, and hiding their wares in PLAIN sight. Children are dying. Maybe even worse, they are living in a hell they call enlightenment. Yep, they honestly think taking drugs like Special K can take you to other worlds. Not your kids? Probably not. But, I wouldn’t take a chance. These are the drugs that one-time use CAN kill you.
Visit Officer Galloway’s website. Learn and save a life. All a child may need is for you to ask. So ASK!