Recent safety checks discussed by SMAHS staff

During a special parent presentation on current drug trends presented by representatives of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services at St. Marys Area High School on Wednesday evening, St. Marys Area High School counselor Molly Wehler and St. Marys Area High School nurse Julie Chicola discussed the recent safety searches that were conducted at the high school and middle school, as well as the proper procedure that should be followed by students who need to take prescription medication during the school day. Wehler explained that the school district is trying to stress the idea of prevention, which she explained was the purpose of the recent safety checks. "Those checks did not come out of any issue that we felt we were having here at the high school or at the middle school," Wehler said. "It was something really to protect the students and to sort of send a message out, especially with things like the prescription medicine or the over-the-counter medicine that students bring in to the nurse to take during the day, that they need to know that when they walk in the building that those medications must go to the person that is going to be in charge of that for them for the day, and that they must have the doctor's prescription that states they are to have those."Wehler also addressed some of the rumors that have resulted from the safety checks, explaining that many of them are false."[It's] kind of funny to us, but as we have gone out in the public since then, personally I had somebody come up to me and say after the high school [safety search], 'Wow, I heard they found bags and bags of cocaine,'" Wehler said. She explained that she was personally involved in searching students' bags during the checks at both the high school and middle school, and stated, "There was nothing like that."She did indicate that what she and the other personnel found consisted mainly of prescription medications that had not yet been taken to the school nurse, and over-the-counter products such as Advil, Tylenol, cough drops, and Sudafed. "We are kind of coming off cold and flu season. We get it. We understand that, but we can't have those medications sort of randomly floating around because there have been incidents here, in other buildings, other school districts, where somebody scrapes the identification off of a Tylenol pill or something and sells it to somebody else saying it's a Vicodin or something like that," Wehler said. Wehler noted that the measure is in place in order to help ensure the protection of the students.