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Drug Abuse ‘Opened E’ Of Mead Parents Group Sends Out District-Wide Survey, Opens Anonymous Hot Line

Fifty Mead School District parents - meeting Tuesday night in the same school where three eighth-graders ingested LSD last fall discussed plans to eradicate drug use.

Working for months on a shoestring budget, the parents have designed programs to involve area businesses as well as other parents and students.

They already have sent a survey to all families in the district, and are establishing an anonymous hot line for students to report drugs, alcohol or weapons at Mead schools.

“Our job is to open up the eyes of us dummies who didn’t know that drug use was going on in Mead schools,” parent Tom Konis said.

The parents admit that seven months ago they were blinded by Mead’s image as a haven for middleclass families, low crime and high academic standards.

On Nov. 1 the calm broke. Three Northwood Junior High girls took LSD at school. Minutes later one of the three, horrified by the hallucinations the drug was causing, went to the office seeking medical help.

Two weeks later 400 parents gathered to talk about solutions. Several months later, a handful of Mead parents and a few school administrators are putting their new knowledge into action.

“This is the community mobilizing,” assistant superintendent Scott Menard said. “This is not the school district making this happen, it’s the community.”

Many of the plans - like the survey and the hot line - are firsts among Spokane-area schools.

The survey, called “Everybody Else is Doing It,” is meant to inform parents about what other families do in regard to allowances, curfews, teen drinking and drug use.

Only two weeks since it was mailed out, 1,500 surveys have already been returned.

The Mead Safe Schools Hot Line will be a phone line to the district office. Secretaries will answer students’ calls and ask them a series of questions about the issue they are reporting. After business hours an answering machine will take calls.

“We want to discourage kids from bringing drugs to school through the fear they will be ratted on,” Northwood Junior High assistant principal Joe Riddlington said.

Parents also sent letters to 30 business owners asking if teens hang out in their parking lots and what they’re doing about it.

“It’s not all negative,” parent Sheila Cardella said. “We just want to learn from them.”