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ISD Board Statement on Opiate Crisis Impact to Our Communities

Posted by L Michelle on October 01, 2019

Our hearts ache for our students and school communities that have been and continue to be impacted by the devastating effects of opiates.  Not only are we passionate about the educational success of our students, but we care deeply for their health and well-being.  We have invested in additional counselors and Swedish Hospital mental health specialists in every secondary school.  More than two weeks ago we reached out to the City of Sammamish to discuss the impact of opiates and the role of law enforcement in our schools and community.  We intend to engage similarly with all our city partners.  Last week during the Board retreat, we had a strategic discussion about the crisis in our community with illegal drug abuse.  Yet we know that talking about it is not enough.  

As a Board, our responsibilities must include the following proactive approaches:

  1. to educate our students to the true dangers of opiates especially in the era of Fentanyl;
  2. to equip our parents with the knowledge of what to watch for and how to protect and support their children;
  3. to empower our students to speak up and to ensure that action will be taken when credible information is provided to our building administrators, teachers, and staff;
  4. to develop a culture and community that provides supports for students in crisis, while also promoting accountability to ensure every one of our campuses is safe.

We know that the opiate crisis will not be fixed overnight but, within days to weeks, we commit to:

  1. deeper and broader partnerships with our Mayors and City Councils, as well as with local law enforcement agencies, to address the easy access to opiates;
  2. community-wide discussion that is inclusive to students, parents, teachers, and community members across our District;
  3. focused parent/community meetings in our most impacted school communities to discuss prevention, early intervention, and accountability strategies.

Above all else, we want you to know the Issaquah School Board is keenly focused on this issue and that strategic discussions will continue between the Board and Superintendent to ensure that addressing the impact of the opiate crisis remains a top priority.

We ask for your partnership as we reach into our communities to open up dialogue and to do our part to create a community coalition and culture that will protect each and every one of our students from the devastating impact of opiate abuse.