Kids' presence encouraged at school's anti-drug event

Organizers say forum OK for younger pupils

August 19, 1999|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN STAFF

Organizers of an anti-drug event scheduled for tomorrow night at Westminster High School want parents to know they are encouraged to bring their children to learn about the dangers of heroin use.

The Carroll County Council of PTAs is sponsoring the 7 p.m. town meeting, which will include a showing of the locally produced video "Heroin Kills" and a panel discussion involving local school officials, law enforcers and other drug experts.

According to Bill Ullrich, the county PTA secretary, some parents are confusing tomorrow's event with an anti-drug forum to be held at the high school at 7 p.m. Sept. 1. That event -- where officers from the New Castle, Del., Police Department are expected to show graphic slides of heroin victims from their community -- is not appropriate for middle and elementary school pupils, according to a flier describing it.

Ullrich said fliers for the Sept. 1 event were mistakenly mailed to parents with school newsletters in place of advertisements for tomorrow's meeting. He said he has received phone calls from parents asking why they should not bring their children.

"It's [the town meeting] definitely appropriate for school-age kids," said Ullrich, who added that the "Heroin Kills" video is to be used as a teaching tool in many Carroll County classrooms beginning this fall.

"These are entirely different programs," he said. The paperwork mix-up is a setback to organizers, who are nervous about whether they can draw a large crowd tomorrow.

The pressure is on because the ABC News program "20/20" is expected to cover the town meeting -- the video has drawn nationwide attention as a successful grass-roots effort to fight drugs in a small community.

Joanne Hayes, the substance abuse prevention school-community coordinator for Carroll County schools, said she is hopeful for a large turnout even though the event is taking place on a Friday night in late August, when many are on vacation.

Pub Date: 8/19/99

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