What Is The Student Support Team All About?
Being a middle school student has always been tough. It is a time when so many things in an adolescent’s life are changing, and sometimes it seems hard to keep track of everything. It is normal for adolescents to feel both confused and overwhelmed as they go through all of these changes. It’s tough for parents too! The point is, they are just like every other teenager – striving to overcome all of the obstacles and challenges that may come their way as they enter young adulthood.
Most students will make the right choices; however, some of may make choices that will hinder thier ability to reach their full potential. Some students make poor choices and are at risk of becoming involved with alcohol and other drug use. Many people are aware of the harmful effects of alcohol and other drug use. Most students will usually be strong enough to say “NO!” A smaller number of students may feel pressure and decide to experiment with drugs and alcohol. To say “NO”! may be one of the hardest and most important choices they make at this time in their life.
Many students will be presented with circumstances and events in their lives that are serious and impact them and their families in unforeseen ways. Often times students and families do not know where to turn when they are dealing with these challenging or never experienced issues. Loss of a loved one, parents separations or divorce, health or mental health concerns, and life stressors are just a few obstacles students and families are often presented with. All of the above named concerns can greatly impact a students school performance in negative ways. The Student Support Team provides an opportunity for students to get assistance in dealing with these issues and to maintain a level of academic performance they had previously achieved.
The future is bright … take charge of your life … make healthy decisions … seek assistance when in need.
The Orefield Middle School Support Team (SST) is a chance for you to help yourself or a friend if alcohol or drugs are a part of your life or if they are struggling for an unknown reason. Here are the answers to questions you may have about the SST program.
1. Q: WHO IS THE SST?
The SST is a group of counselors, nurses, principals, and teachers specially trained in alcohol and other drug use or abuse and mental health issues. They coordinate the identification and referral of students in need.
2. Q: WHO CAN MAKE A REFFERAL TO THE SST?
Referrals can be made by parents, peers, students, or school staff.
3. Q: WHEN IS A REFERRAL MADE TO THE SST?
A referral is made when a student appears to be dealing with an issue/s that may be interfering with is/her educational progress. SST does not just deal with drug and alcohol issues but with any issue that affects students in a negative way. These issuesncan range from family crisis, eating concerns, depression, to self harmful behaviors
4. Q: HOW IS A REFERRAL MADE?
A referral is made on a sheet of paper or an SST referral form obtained from an SST member, teacher, or the guidance office. Explain the problem you see and sign your name to the form. ALL REFERRAL SOURCES REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL AND NO ONE OUTSIDE OF THE SST TEAM WILL KNOW WHO FILLED OUT THE REFERRAL FORM. Completed forms should be given to any SST team member or the guidance office.
5. Q: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A REFERRAL IS MADE TO THE SST?
After receiving a referral, the SST collects information from faculty who have contact with the student. After reviewing the information collected, the SST will decide on a course of action. An interview may be conducted with the student and/or their parents.
6. Q: WILL A STUDENT GET SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL OR RECEIVE DETENTION IF THEY ARE REFERRED TO SST?
No. However, students who violate the school district’s drug and alcohol policy as outlined in your student handbook may be subject to disciplinary action.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS IN TROUBLE WITH ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS OR THEY ARE STRUGGLING WITH AN UNKNOWN ISSUE THAT IS INTERFERRING WITH THEIR LIFE, MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE – HELP, REFER!
Please return completed referral form the guidance office.
Some Typical Student Behaviors Appropriate for SST Referral
Listed below are signs and symptoms of possible drug and/or alcohol use or mental health issues and typical reasons for referral:
- Disciplinary problems
- Frequent visits to the Nurse and/or Guidance office
- Decreased attention span
- Observable expressions of anger, sadness, extreme mood swings, irritablility, overreact to mild criticism
- Observable behavior such as excessive talking in class, laughing inappropriately, poor anger management, disrespectful to faculty or staff members
- Conversations about alcohol or other drugs (firsthand), or parties where drugs and/or alcohol were present, student expressing concern or fear about a fellow student’s use of mood altering substances
- Smell similar to marijuana or alcohol on a student or their belongings
- Odors on student’s clothes or belongings that are similar to those associated with the use of alcohol, other drugs, or inhalant abuse
- Observable behaviors such as overheard (firsthand) conversations about feeling very sad or depressed
- Observing a significant weight loss or weight gain
- Observing frequent trips to the restroom
- Observing a distinct behavior change or a change of friends
- Observing drug-related, satanic-related or death related language or drawings
- Observing glassy-eyes, red eyes, pupils of eyes are extremely big (dilated) or extremely small ( Pinpoint) frequent cold-like symptoms, rash around the nose/mouth, and/or chemical smell.
- Change in friends (possible with older teenagers or young adults
- A decline in academic performance
- Increased tardiness
- Diminshed interest in hobbies, sports or favorite activities
- Avoids family contact or decreased involvement with the family
- Careless about their personal appearance
- Sluggish, listlessness or constant sleeping
- Slow or slurred speech, rapid, explosive speech
- Using street or drug language
- Join Together Online (Substance Abuse & Gun Violence)
- National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
- National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information
- National Institute on Drug Abuse
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
- Office of National Drug Control Policy
- PTA: Common Sense
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration