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A Special Message from Dr. Wyndham

A Special Message from Dr. Wyndham

Hello, Avon community.

May is typically a time for good news as we count down to the last day of school. There is still plenty of good news to share, which you’ll see in our publications, newsletters, and websites. However, I want to pause to take a few minutes to address more somber information.

Last weekend, for the second time this spring, we lost a student to a drug overdose. Both young men were both freshmen at Avon High School. Both were taken from their loved ones much too soon. In recent days, AHS Principal Matt Shockley has spoken with both families. Even amid their grief, their wishes are that their sons’ deaths will somehow prevent others from experiencing the same loss.

When we watch the news or scroll social media and see reports about the drug crisis, we can think, “Not in our town or not in my home.” These two lives lost remind us that, yes, illegal drug use is affecting our community. When faced with the fact that our own children are at risk, we can choose how to respond. We could pretend the issue doesn’t exist or we could unite to become more educated, keep lines of communication open with our children, and work to prevent further tragedy.

Let me encourage you to consider doing three things:

First, if you are raising children, please consider beginning an ongoing conversation about the dangers of substance abuse, how to respond if they are ever faced with the opportunity to experiment, and what to do if they need help. Many parents and caring adults simply have no idea just how easy it is for young people to acquire substances, keep their substance use hidden from friends and family, use social media and other apps to keep their behaviors hidden, and get caught up in the destructive cycle of drug abuse. Perhaps the most important thing we can do as parents to protect our children is to establish and maintain clear, honest, loving communication with them.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do as parents to protect our children is to establish and maintain clear, honest, loving communication with them. Dr. Wyndham

Next, let me encourage you to attend an event we have been planning since we received news of the first student’s death in March. We are hosting a Substance Abuse Information Session on Thursday, May 18, at Avon Middle School North. This event will take place in the auditorium at 7:00 pm. Everyone is invited. You’ll hear a short, practical presentation from subject matter experts and have an opportunity to get additional information from substance abuse, mental wellness, and law enforcement experts.

Finally, last month I recorded an episode of the Orioles In-The-Know podcast featuring substance abuse and recovery expert Chase Cotten, our School Counseling and Mental Wellness Coordinator Krista Fay, and Chief of Avon School Police Department Sam Leahy. It is full of incredibly practical information that helped me both as a parent and as an educator.

I’ve heard an acronym used to describe Avon – A Valley Of Neighbors. Whatever role we each play in our valley, we are neighbors, and we can use our influence to invest in the success and well-being of the young people around us to try to prevent future tragedies.


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