Dear Minister Jennex:
I have a daughter who will be entering Grade 11 this September and I have an older daughter who graduated last year from High School. We live in the Annapolis Valley and I chose to bring my children up in this area because I grew up and went to Cole Harbour High in the HRM, and felt that this would be a safer place for my girls.
I have to say that although I was surrounded in high school by friends using marijuana, hashish, and various forms of acid, never did I see the abuse that my girls have seen here.
My girls have lost many friendships because they refuse to go to parties and have seen the effects that these drugs are having on their friends. In fact, my youngest tells them, “I am your friend but if you start using, I am done with you”. I am a single mother and I have been very fortunate in the way that being the only parent, I have a very open relationship with my daughters and they come to me with what they see and encounter. My daughter has told me about people crushing up pills with a razor blade, the dealers in the school and the changes in behaviours of people who used to be her close friends. She has been told she should “just try it,” “how good it will feel,” “the freedom she will enjoy”! They all just start with marijuana, they tell her it’s not addictive, it’s natural, and that it will not lead to other drugs. The fact is, from what I have witnessed over the years, it does! Not to mention, these kids don’t understand that these drugs are likely being cut with other drugs. They have no idea what they are putting into their bodies!
My house has always been the place the kids like to be. I feed them, I include them, I do not allow smoking, drugs, alcohol or inappropriate behaviours. As my girls have gotten older my house is no longer the house to be at, my girls are there but their friends go to the other houses where parents allow these behaviours. I know parents who provide alcohol because they say at least they know where the kids are! Some of these are parents of 14 year olds!
My daughter has friends who have developed long term health issues due to caffene and marajuana usage and who think they NEED to use it to help them deal with other family issues. What they don’t understand is when that stops working they will likely move to something stronger!
I have watched the video, “Overtaken”. This NEEDS to be shown in all the schools in our province!
With all due respect, I see from your biography that you have spent the better part of your career as an Elementary school teacher, not in High Schools. I have been part of my daughter’s High School as well as their Elementary and Junior High schooling. Working on various fundraising efforts over the years, providing travel for kids, all over this province for volleyball and basketball and working full time in education as well. Elementary, Junior High and High School are three completely different worlds. We can keep on pretending that we should protect our children from seeing something that might upset them or we can get real and start protecting from something that will really hurt them. I know that many kids would watch this and laugh, make fun, try to be cool, and not take a lot from it. There likely would be some that would be high while watching it! There would however be a few that might get something out of it and rethink the decisions they are currently making and maybe, just maybe, a life or two would be saved!
Many of these kids are out of control. Their parents, my generation I am embarrassed to admit, think these kids can bring themselves up. Often times school is the only stable part of their lives. What a sad reality!
Your biography on Facebook from March 2011 states, “Ramona wants to be part of government that and will respond to the needs of Nova Scotian and provide solutions.” Nova Scotians NEED you to help us combat the drug problems in our schools and protect our children! So please start getting this kind of education into our schools before your grandchildren are the next generation of young people who have to be faced with this horrible epidemic.