School district addresses recent student alcohol concerns in letter
This is a reprint of a letter issued by the Unified School District of Antigo addressing incidents of alcohol consumption by students:
I am writing to you today regarding a serious concern within our student community.
On Monday, November 13th we had a couple students at our middle and high schools arrive at school after having consumed alcohol prior to the start of our school day. Later that day, a student in our high school consumed alcohol that was brought into the school and disguised as a bottle of water. Of further concern is that the actions of this student were not only witnessed by other students, but encouraged, videoed, and posted to social media. The student experienced a medical emergency and the school staff quickly and effectively enacted emergency procedures until the student was in the care of medical professionals. I am thankful to be able to report to you that the report on the student’s health status is positive.
In addition to informing you via this letter, our high school staff met with their first hour classes to share a factual update on the situation that unfolded and to engage our students in a discussion on the following points:
- What do we need to do to ensure that this never happens again?
- Parents, teachers, students, each other and community
- Examples: rules, supports, etc.
- What do you want AHS to be known for?
- How do we ensure our positive accomplishments grow and that those are what we are known for? Example: stage, classroom, athletics, community, and all other settings.
- What will it take for every student to view AHS as a safe place to achieve at a high level and prepare for a successful future after high school?
- Talk about decision making; your decisions have consequences.
- What are the ways you can reach out to an adult if you have information or concerns about another student?
- Your decisions impact the outcome.
Additionally, we have extra staff on hand to support our students throughout the day at the high school, and our middle school will be holding class meetings on Friday of this week to discuss our school being a safe zone that supports high achievement.
Parents and guardians, we will be undergoing a review of our actions related to this incident, as we continue to strive every day to build a safe school environment that supports high achievement for every student so that each one graduates college and career ready. But folks, we cannot do it alone. We need every one of you to be our active partners. We have information that there was activity in the community last weekend that was an antecedent to the events that occurred Monday in our schools. We need you to talk with your children. Know who they hang out with. Know what they do online and with friends. Know where they are and how they are spending their money. Check their phones. Look in their rooms, their pockets and their cars. Know what they are bringing to school with them. Talk with them. Cultivate your relationship with them. Hold them to high expectations. Talk about their future with them and believe in the possible for them. Better that your child/ren is angry with you and safe than in harm’s way.
Our schools are good schools, and Antigo is a wonderful community. We have truly terrific kids. And as a long-time educator and a mom, I know for certain that sometimes good kids make mistakes. We can’t take the chance that we might lose a student. I don’t ever want this to occur in one our schools again. Let’s band together and be difference makers for these kids – they are depending on us. Our first step as a school system is to engage our high school students in helping us to envision the school we know we can be and the elements of support that our students feel are essential to their success, as well as reviewing safe school expectations with our middle school students. We are both prepared and committed to continued efforts to support good decision-making on the part of our students and to deter harmful choices.
We will reach out once we complete our investigation and our review of the incident. We invite you to contact high school principal Mr. Zamzow; middle school principal Mrs. Dahms, or me should you have questions in the meantime. We thank you for being our valued partners in providing excellence in education for every student every day.
Dr. Colleen A. Timm, Superintendent