November 22, 2019
Dear Members of the Concord and Concord-Carlisle Community:
At this time of year, we are grateful for the partnership between the schools and families. We also want to express appreciation for connections between the schools and Concord’s town leaders and services.
As previously referenced, the districts’ strategic plan highly emphasizes student well-being. This priority is why we write to share growing concern over substance use-related issues among high school students. This fall brought a series of alcohol-related incidents both at and outside of school events leading to unsafe situations that required police support. Underage drinking is illegal and leads to the deaths of more young people than all other drugs combined. Our concerns for student safety compelled us to compose this joint letter to our parent community to not only notify, but more importantly, to re-affirm our strong partnership and mutual commitment to student safety. We encourage you to share it with high school and middle school-age students. For those with younger children, we know that early education and awareness is critical.
CCHS and area high schools are also not immune to the national vaping epidemic dominating news headlines. In conjunction with the Concord and Carlisle Boards of Health, we want to increase awareness of the dangers of vaping, especially given the unknown causes of serious medical harm. Please see the Concord Health Division’s webpage: https://concordma.gov/714/Tobacco-and-Vaping for more information and resources on vaping. On December 3, the speaker series regarding vaping continues in Bedford sponsored by the Concord, Carlisle and Bedford Boards of Health. Information can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vaping-and-our-teens-what-do-we-know-about-the-risks-of-vaping-tickets-75932493131
Research is clear that parents have the most influence on student use of substances. Being a role model, sending messages as to your expectations, and providing information as to the dangers of drug and alcohol use does matter. Resources such as Pathways to Prevention (https://www.pathwaytoprevention.org/resources/parents/) can help you know how to navigate these challenging topics.
In conjunction with the Concord and Carlisle Police Departments and the local Boards of Health, we will continue to develop student instructional programs, opportunities for parent information, and implementation of both proactive and deterring measures.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Dr. Laurie Hunter, Superintende
Chief Joseph O’Connor, Concord Police
Chief John Fisher, Carlisle Police Chief
Susan Rask, Concord Public Health Director