Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

Partner Spotlight: A Legal Perspective from Anthony Kropp Deerfield High School Resource Officer

As a member of the Deerfield Police Department, I have served as Deerfield High School’s School Resource Officer – a first for the school – since August 2013. I have had the pleasure of creating a new program while fostering strong relationships with the staff, students and parents.

Children are under an enormous amount of stress in both their social and academic arenas. Due to the fast pace of the world we live in, communication between students and parents often suffers. Many children haven’t been taught how to cope with the stressors they face, and, as a result, some turn to alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms. In my experiences with these students, many of them say they don’t have open communication with or enough supervision by their parents. They wish their parents would check up on them more often to help deter them from making bad choices.  Students who fall victim to bad choices and get into trouble with the law say they sneak out of the house or tell their parents they’re going to a friend’s, when actually they’re not. Some say they steal alcohol, money, or prescription drugs from their own house, another relative’s or even a friend’s. While we know that most of our students are making healthy choices, I notice some of these trends among the students with whom I work: the use of tobacco, mainly in vaping products, the use of alcohol and marijuana in edible, liquid, and plant form.

As parents/guardians, it is important to monitor your children’s day to day activities and observe their spirit while watching for any changes in sociability, mood, sleep, depression, anger or anything out of the norm. If you observe any changes, talk to your child and seek assistance from the school or a private entity. You know your child better than anyone else, so please pay attention–they won’t always tell you if they’re struggling because they don’t want to burden you.

Officer Kropp contributed to CTAD’s brochure Local Laws for New Drivers and is presenting at Deerfield Parent Network’s “What If? Expert Advice about Teens & the Law” program on January 24.