_B-PEN (Brookline Parent Education Network)
helps parents navigate the
social, emotional and developmental challenges affecting today’s teens and
pre-teens – common challenges that can lead to risky behavior. An outreach
initiative that collaborates with Brookline school administrators and PTO’s,
the organization’s goals are to facilitate parent connections:
* with other parents,
* with school and town resources, and
* with helpful information via written/electronic materials on a wide variety of
DAY OF DIALOGUE, DAY OF SILENCE
On April 16, BHS held its annual Day of Dialogue, in which the Gay-Trans-Straight Alliance sponsored assemblies all day to raise awareness about the struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth and to help to make BHS safer, more accepting, and better informed. Panels and presentations gave powerful testimony to the vast range and unique challenges of the LGBTQ experience. Audiences were packed and enthusiastically supportive as students and faculty shared their stories.
This year’s event gave an extra focus on gender identity and what it means to be transgender, genderqueer, genderfluid, or non-binary, since BHS has an increasing number of students who identify in this way. The BHS community learned about “coming out,” “letting in,” that “they” is a legitimate pronoun, and that gender identity and sexuality is not necessarily either/or but rather a rich spectrum that doesn’t always invite convenient labeling. As one student so eloquently put it, “If you shove a fragile object into a misshapen box, it will be damaged.”
The following day, BHS observed Day of Silence. As part a national annual observance, many students at the school declined to talk during the day to raise awareness of the thousands of people who stay silent about being LGBTQ for fear of bullying and harassment. B-PEN urges you to ask your students about these two moving, stimulating days and continue the conversation at home.
THE CHANGING FACE OF MARIJUANA -Revisiting the Conversation with Adolescents
With the legalization of marijuana in other states and the legalization of medical marijuana here in Massachusetts, cannabis is very much a part of our culture, and there is a shifting spectrum of attitudes. How does this impact the conversations we are having with teens? How do we clear up misinformation and misperceptions and prevent the development of marijuana abuse disorders among our youth? This was the focus of a recent forum bringing together Brookline students, parents, and school/health administrators and staff. Read the complete Parent Update to learn:
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PARENTS URGE STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH AS A PRIORITY
Did you know that according to DrugFree.org, less than half of teens with mental health disorders get needed help? Brookline's Wellness Committee summit, “Youth & Mental Health: Balancing the Wellness Wheel,” helped generate strategies to foster a "whole child” approach to youth mental health and overall wellbeing. Parent members of the committee met further, coming up with three key recommendations, reflected in this letter to the Brookline TAB.
SPOTLIGHT ON ADDERALL
Did you know that according to a recent national study, 11% of all teens aged 13 to 17 have been prescribed stimulant medication like Adderall or Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? That’s a lot of medication floating around, and for those who need it, these drugs can be extremely effective.
But according to a 2012 survey by The Partnership at Drugfree.org, in conjunction with the MetLife Foundation, an additional one in eight teens (13%) now reports that they have taken one of these stimulants when it was not prescribed for them. At BHS, 12% of all seniors admitted to abusing amphetamines not prescribed to them. Reasons ranged from self-medication and weight loss to study aids and recreational use – the sustained “high” from stimulants allows students to party longer.
CLICK HERE to read more...
Drug Free Action Alliance's report...
PARENT NETWORK CONNECTIONS
One of B-PEN’s primary missions is to provide opportunities for parents to connect with one another regarding some of the common social/emotional issues all our adolescents face as they develop. To complement regular PTO meetings, grade-geared Parent Network get-togethers at each school provide opportunities for helping parents get to know, support and strategize with one another around common developmental concerns. **Check out the Discussion Guides for Parent Networks** created to support Parent Network meetings. For help starting a Parent Network or more information on B-PEN’s offerings and resources, contact B-PEN coordinators June Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Karen Campbell email@example.com