Although some Lawrence High School students think pencils and doormats with anti-drug messages trivialize the drug problem, LHS officials say those items represent only a small part of the school's drug education efforts.
The school this year purchased several welcome mats with an anti-drug message, which is conveyed by the word "DRUGS" with a slash through it. Students also have received pencils bearing anti-drug messages.
LHS senior Adam Hefty said that "those kinds of things just serve to widen the chasm between administrators and students. The students perceive that the administration is totally naive" with regard to the drug problem.
Diane Ash, prevention specialist at LHS, said, "I hear where the students are at and how silly those things might seem to them." However, she said, the items are merely a way to raise awareness.
"All that does is keep the drug issue in front of people's eyes," she said.
Ash said she has heard similar concerns about signs placed around LHS that say "Drug Free School Zone."
She said the signs do not mean that school officials think there is absolutely no drug use at LHS. Rather, she said, the signs are designed to remind people that it's a felony to possess or sell drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
Ash said some drug education activities that are in the works include:
Two drug awareness and prevention training programs for about 50 LHS faculty members. Ash said the programs, to be held Jan. 30-31 and Feb. 10-11, are geared toward teachers because their "efforts to effectively educate youth are often hindered by student involvement with chemicals."
A "prevention convention," in which students could learn more about drugs and alcohol by spending an entire day or half a day in a number of workshops. Ash said she would want to get the support and suggestions of students and teachers before holding such a convention.