The Way Out West Coalition has a great relationship with law enforcement and many in city government. Part of the benefits is our ability hear from those who are on the front lines dealing with alcohol and substance use.
The following blog entry is from one such officer, an SRO in Buckeye’s schools. What follows is some advice from someone “In the Know” about keeping our Buckeye youth safe this summer.
Where has the school year gone? I am sure as a parent you are asking yourself that same question. The school year is coming to an end, and in less than a month, students will be out for the summer.
So, it is time to start thinking about how to keep our children occupied and out of trouble. Those of us who have older children or are able to be home during the day to watch over the younger ones have a great advantage over those who do not have that luxury.
I wanted to write a little about the dangers of summer vacation and to give you, as parents, information about a few issues the police department handles that can negatively affect your children.
The Most Important Issue: Consuming Substances
The most important issue facing our children is drugs and alcohol; if you have a household where both parents work, children will be alone for most of the day, which gives them time to access any alcohol or prescription medication that might be in the home. Therefore, it is important to remember to lock up all alcohol and prescription medication. Taking this precaution gives you a great opportunity to explain why you are locking alcohol and medication up and tell them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. While this action may seem extreme, it is important to know we have found curiosity leads kids to try new things. So this step is an important precautious measure. Additionally, if your child has friends coming over, having alcohol and medication readily accessible could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
The Issue of Social Media: What Are Your Teens Doing?
Another issue the Buckeye Police Department has been dealing with is the issue of social media. Most students use Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and other social media applications to communicate. The dangers of not monitoring these accounts can become very costly for our children. School Resource Officers have found many students continue to send nude pictures of themselves across these apps. Most students use snapchat because they think the pictures or videos only last up to 10 seconds. However, the pictures last much longer if someone takes a screen shot of the image, with the real trouble ensuing when the image is spread around. School Resource Officers have also found many of the troubles between children start through these social media accounts. Young adults bully and fight with other students via social media. This problem is why it is very important for parents to have some idea of what applications their children are using and what they are posting through those apps.
Remember Buckeye’s Curfew
Finally, as the days get hotter, most people stay inside during the day and come out after dark. Parents, please know the City of Buckeye has a curfew law for anyone less than 18 years old. Curfew is enforced seven days a week. It starts at 10:00pm. Anyone under the age of 18 who is contacted after 10 pm without a parent or guardian can be arrested for violation of curfew.
Summer can be a very wonderful time for our children—a time for them to play and enjoy a few months away from school. However, it is very important we speak with our children about these dangers and help make their summer months fun and safe.