THE PURPOSES OF THE MUNICIPAL ALLIANCE COMMITTEE:
- To organize and coordinate efforts involving schools, law enforcement, business groups and other community organizations for the purpose of reducing alcohol and drug abuse.
- To develop comprehensive and effective education programs in cooperation with our local school district.
- To develop a comprehensive awareness, outreach and support program for parents and the community at large.
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE MUNICIPAL ALLIANCE COMMITTEE:
- To create a network of community leaders, private citizens and representatives from appropriate public and private Human services agencies to coordinate the Alliance activities.
- To conduct an assessment of our community to determine its needs in relation to alcohol and drug abuse issues.
- To identify existing efforts and services within the community in order to coordinate projects to avoid duplication and fragmentation.
WHAT IS AN ALLIANCE ?
Alliances, made up of Municipal Volunteers like you, comprise grass roots prevention organizations which are established in over 500 of New Jersey’s Municipalities.
WHAT DOES AN ALLIANCE DO?
Alliances plan, coordinate, and conduct alcoholism, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention activities to benefit their communities based on extensive needs assessment process and identified priorities.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED ?
If you are interested in being part of the Alliance effort in the Township of Washington, contact the Township of Washington Public Library at at 201-664-4586. Volunteers are needed. Meetings are conducted at the Municipal Complex on the third Thursday of each month.
In March of 1999 the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse released a report from their Education committee. The report was written by Chairperson Linda Jeffrey. The report indicates a significant link among the major social problems of alcohol and drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, bullying and other forms of school violence. In order to combat these problems, it was recommended that every community be encouraged to reach out to their young people to become members of their Municipal Alliance Committee. These young people can then describe the climate in their schools. They can discuss their future aspirations. They can describe the impact alcohol and/or drugs have had on their lives. We must give our young people an opportunity to help develop solutions and possible strategies to make their schools safe and drug free. We must look at the relationship between drug and alcohol abuse with bullying and other forms of violence in our schools.
There is presently little research that indicates that bullying does affect the social climate of schools on a daily basis. Thus, eroding the sense of safety and well being students have within their school. The national association of school psychologists reports approximately one in seven children is wither a bully or the victim of a bully.. This breaks down the 5,000,000 elementary and junior high school students nationwide. Approximately 282,000 students are physically attacked each month in secondary schools. Research has also shown that an estimated 525,000 attacks, shake-downs and robberies occur each month in our schools. There are 125,000 teachers threatened with physical harm and 5,200 actual assaults take place each month. Almost eight percent of urban junior and senior high school students miss at least one day of school per month due to fear. Our state, New Jersey, ranks as the fourth highest nationally in the arrest rate for these serious violent offenses. Arrests of juveniles for weapons offenses rose forty-five percent for 1989 to 1992.
To address out fundamental concerns about school violence, we must fully understand the link between community, family and school. There is no single reason why a child becomes a bully. However, growing up in a family abusing alcohol and/or drugs may provide the child with experiences that can cause her or she to become a bully. The same experience that cause one to become a bully can also be the reasons why a child may become the victim of a bully. Parental alcohol and/or drug abuse builds a foundation for a child’s aggressive behavior in a number of ways.
a. Power and/or coercive disciplinary strategies are used.
b. Nurturing and supervision are lacking.
c. Cooperative social and communication skills are not emphasized.
d. Respect for the rights of others and for ones-self are not taught.
e. Children witness adults aggressive behavior (domestic violence).
f. Children may experience physical and/or sexual abuse.
a. Creates an environment in which a child develops behavior associated with bullying.
b. Inability to trust others.
c. Need for control.
d. Excessive sense of responsibility.
e. Denial of feelings.
a. Low self-esteem.
d. Unable to maintain relationships.
Having to deal with the aforementioned environment children, under such emotional distress, may be venting on their classmates and/or their teachers. Bullying may be an indicator that the child is living in such and environment. Research indicates that a bully is often characterized by impulse and a strong need to dominate others and has little empathy for his or her victims. It is interesting to note social attitudes to bullying. It suggests that bullying is a normal part of childhood. This resembles the attitude society had towards domestic violence, prior to reforms for battered women. Women were offered little of no help or support. If a victim reports a school bully to the “authorities, he or she is considered a “snitch” or a “tattletaler”. They are often told to solve the problem themselves. It is unfortunate that in many schools children feel they are alone in facing this problem.
We must develop solutions to the problems related to violence in our schools. No student should be afraid to attend school and no parent should worry about the safety of their child while in school. In order to develop a prevention program for schools, the following points were identified to define the scope of bullying:
- Bullying is a significant and pervasive problem.
- Fear becomes a part of everyday life for the victim.
- Along with the victim, the bully also needs help.
- Attitudes toward bullying must be changed.
- Evidence indicates that adoption of intervention strategies show a promise in alleviating the problem.
To be effective, any prevention program requires the involvement of teachers, other school personnel, students and parents in a comprehensive, systematic manner. In order to have a successful school-based intervention program certain measures must be taken.
In conclusion, it is recommended that the community initiate the following:
- Adults, both at school and at home, must become aware of the extent of bully/victim problems in their school.
- Adults decide to engage themselves in changing the situation.
It is also recommended that the school administration focus upon the following objectives:
- Increased awareness of bully/victim problems and advances knowledge regarding this issue.
- To achieve active involvement on the part of teachers and parents through their assuming responsibility to control, to a certain degree, what transpires among children at school.
- Develop clear rules against bullying and make consistent use of non-hostile, non-physical sanctions against rule violators.
- Provide support and protection for the victims.
- A youth advisory board should be formed to provide young people with an opportunity to present their views about alcohol/drug abuse, bullying and other forms of school violence.
A starting point for the advisory board should be to define bullying.
“We say that a student is being bullied when another student, or a group of students, say mean and unpleasant things to him or her. Bullying includes taunting, teasing and calling names. It is also bullying when a student is hit, kicked, pushed, pinched, restrained by another, threatened, locked include a room and things like that. It is also possible to bully without use of words or physical contact, such as by making faces or dirty gesture, intentionally excluding someone form a group or refusing to comply with an-others wishers. When it is bullying, these things may take place repeatedly and over time, and it is difficult for the student being bullied to defend himself or herself. But it is not bullying when two students of about the same strength quarrel or fight.
Most importantly is the need to contribute ideas and strategies to make their schools safe and drug free.
Our kids call it huffing or sniffing. “IT” is inhalant abuse.
Our kids think it won’t hurt them. It will.
All over America kids of all ages are abusing everyday household products.
FACT: 1 out of 5 children abuse these
Products before they finish high school.
FACT: More than 9 out of 10 parents don’t believe
their child will ever abuse inhalants.
If you suspect you’re child or someone you know is an inhalant abuser, what can you do to help ?
Be alert for symptoms of inhalant abuse. If you suspect there is a problem, you should consider seeking professional help.
Contact a local drug rehabilitation center or other services available in your community, or:
NATIONAL INHALANT PREVENTION COALITION
ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB AT
National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Service
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information