I attended that County Executive's budget hearing held at Havre de Grace High School last week during which several people spoke in favor of the Harford County Public Schools teaching a drug awareness program. At the end of the hearing, the County Executive and Mary Chance, a member of his budget committee, addressed the audience stating they have tried to bring drug and alcohol abuse education back into the public schools, but have met resistance from the school system. His statements and those of Ms. Chance are incorrect, as drug and alcohol education is still taught in Harford County Public Schools in the elementary, middle, and high schools.
In the elementary and middle schools, "Here's Looking at You" is the drug and alcohol awareness program designed to provide age appropriate information to students at every grade level. In middle school, in addition to "Here's Looking at You," sixth grade students are presented with "Project Alert." The sixth, seventh and eighth grade drug education classes are taught either by the student's science teachers or by the health teacher. In high school, nearly 20 percent of the required health curriculum is dedicated to a unit entitled, "Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs."
The County Executive mentioned that when he was a school principal, Project DARE was the drug awareness program taught in the schools.
The education, health, and safety of our children are our top priorities. To imply that the Harford County Public School system has removed drug awareness education from the curriculum, thereby jeopardizing the health and safety of our students, leads one to question the speakers' knowledge of the facts and/or the motives in making that implication. Either possibility is troubling.
The writer is a teacher in Harford County Public Schools.