This is an important message from Donna Geidel, interim superintendent, regarding several incidents at Pine Bush High School this week that all of our staff and parents need to be aware of.
Unfortunately, several students were transported to the hospital this week due to drug use. The health consequences were serious, but they have recovered and are getting support from their families. The delay in sharing this information with all of you was because we were still gathering information about the students’ health outcomes and the substances that they used. Simultaneously, the police are conducting a thorough investigation regarding the source of the substances. It is very important that we do not compromise that investigation.
Please be aware that Mr. Hopmayer, his administrative team and I are also collaborating with additional agencies such as the Tri-County Community Partnership and the Orange County Drug and Alcohol Agency to address this issue in our school community. Our first step will be communicating with staff and parents and educating them about the dangers of the highly potent substances that are circulating. We have scheduled a joint meeting with the aforementioned agencies and local and NYS police with the PBHS staff on Monday.
In addition, Mr. Hopmayer and I will be hosting a community forum regarding these issues on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. in the PBHS cafeteria. All parents and staff are invited to attend and the event will also be livestreamed on our website. We will be sharing the facts that we know and a comprehensive plan to address substance use, abuse and availability. There will also be an educational component to help all of us become more aware of the substances, devices and signs and symptoms of drug use.
In speaking with other superintendents around Orange County, this epidemic is widespread and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. It is not isolated to Pine Bush, but we must act swiftly and decisively to protect our children. The potency and wide range of substances that are circulating is frightening. Many of our students are not aware that any experimentation can have dire consequences. This problem is not impacting any one specific group of students; the threat knows no boundaries. Therefore, educating our students will also be a part of our plan.
It is often said that “it takes a village” to raise our children. Now is the ideal time for us to work together to address this problem. Mr. Hopmayer and I both witnessed the consequences firsthand while standing next to the parents while they prayed for their children’s recovery. It was frightening and sobering. Please join us in our efforts to help you protect your children.