Local School Promotes "Too Good for Drugs and Violence" Program

WINCHESTER, VA - While parents have the usual talk with their teens of how dangerous drugs and alcohol can be, sometimes, it is not always easy. That is where one local high school steps in.

Many experiment with drugs and alcohol during high school but one program is aiming to prevent their curiosity.

John Handley High school received a grant of $14,000 last spring through the Virginia Foundation of Healthy Youth to kick off its drug and alcohol prevention program that began this fall.

"It's helping kids see that there are choices and there are consequences as it relates to all kinds of risky behaviors," says Judy McKiernan, student support lead specialist of Winchester Public Schools.

Parents have received a newsletter in the mail letting them know about the "Too Good for Drugs and Violence" program.

The high school plans to keep sending updates to parents on what is being discussed within the classroom.

"The conversations they were having in that classroom today were about consequences for every choice and we're not saying 'you have to do this', we're saying 'think about what you're doing' and by this age, you can't cram decisions down their throat. You have to give them decision-making skills," adds McKiernan.

The program focuses on tobacco, drugs, alcohol and how teens can talk to their parents.

Todd Miller is teaching his first semester of health at the high school and he aims to make his students see what it is like in the real world.

"We talk about everyday scenarios that happen in their lives and then that way, the students can communicate openly, we can discuss it so they can know what situations where they might need to help a friend out," adds Miller.

Miller says he wants nothing more than to see his students make good choices and to go far in life.

The grant was part of the tobacco settlement money and it will fund the program for three years.

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