overcast clouds


Laguna Beach

LBUSD holds events to prevent students from substance abuse

By Carly Rohrer, LBHS students

In partnership with Brush & Palette newspaper

As the rates of teenage drug and alcohol usage skyrocket, each of LBUSD’s schools executes its own way to deal with the severe problem. The elementary schools, middle school, and high school have all put on unique events in an attempt to convince students to remain sober. 

At Top of the World Elementary School, music teacher Beth Sand teaches her students the song, “I Won’t Smoke – No Siree.” Mrs. Sand has taught many generations the catchy song. The purpose of teaching all of those students the song is to try to embed that smoking is bad in the flourishing minds of the students. 

On February 8, the Top of the World honors choir took a quick trip to the high school at lunch. They stood in the quad and belted out the song to all of the high school students. Eventually, some high schoolers were brave enough to join the children on stage and sing the song they once used to know. The whole goal of this activity was to remind the high schoolers of the pledge they made so many years ago. It was also to show the elementary students that there are cool high school students who don’t smoke. 

“The intention is really that our high school kids will remember that when they were in elementary school, most kids do pledge and plan not to ever smoke. Studies have shown that peer-to-peer teaching is 300 percent more effective than adults delivering the message, so having the elementary and high school kids making this pledge together will hopefully have a strong, positive impact,” said teacher Mindy Hawkins. 

Along with having a visit from the elementary students, the high school encouraged students to sign a big poster and pledge to remain nicotine free. By signing the pledge, they received a shirt with creative anti-smoking slogans such as, “I don’t dig your cig.” All of these events at the high school aim to deter students from drugs and alcohol. 

At the middle school, Student Resource Officer Corporal Cornelius “Corn” Ashton and Assistant Principal Lisa Brackez gave a lecture on the reasons not to get into drugs and alcohol. They gave their 45-minute presentation to all grade levels during the students’ physical education class. The main focus of the presentation was about how vaping can cause harmful long-term effects to the body. Ashton and Brackez also touched on the topic of bullying and choosing the right friends early on. 

“It was an important presentation because drugs and alcohol, specifically vaping, is an epidemic within teens, and most are not educated with the effects on the body,” said 7th-grader Hayden Rohrer, who attended the presentation. 

LBUSD holds t shirts

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

On February 6, the High on Life Club and ASB coordinated a pledge-signing in which students declared their intention to remain nicotine-free. After signing the pledge, students received a shirt with a creative anti-smoking slogan on it. This event was one of the many attempts to keep students out of drugs and alcohol in our school district.

At the elementary schools, the staff works diligently to keep the children out of trouble. Instead of having the elementary school students get stuck in the dangers of drugs and alcohol, the school tries to make the kids focus on healthy activities such as the arts, music, and sports. For the 4th and 5th graders, a program called “Botvin’s Curriculum” is used to educate students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The program teaches students about the devastating effects to the body that come with making the bad decisions. This program has been proven to reduce substance abuse by up to 80 percent. Along with Botvin’s Curriculum, school counselors provide additional presentations to the students to help ensure they remain sober. 

We are constantly evaluating our curriculum to ensure students are taught all the necessary skills they need to make them successful in the future. Our teachers work with the counselor to supplement the instruction as needed,” said Top of the World Elementary School Principal Michael Conlon. 

Curriculum, when it comes to drugs and alcohol, is always changing. Elementary schools are constantly reevaluating what should, and should not, be taught to the innocent minds. But when is there too much or too little education? 

“I don’t believe there is a need for more education at the elementary level,” said El Morro Elementary School Principal Chris Duddy. “Elementary school has a wide range of developmental levels. Unless there is new research indicating that there is an effective program for the elementary level. I know that past programs such as ‘Just Say No’ were proven as ineffective.”

If presented with information that is not age appropriate, younger students could end up exploring their curiosities about drugs and alcohol early.

All in all, the school district is uniting to make sure that none of their students fall down the deep hole of substance abuse. The only way there will be a change is if teens wake up and actually learn from all of the amazing programs and events that the district supports.

“All the money in the world isn’t going to make a difference towards these programs if the kids don’t buy into it,” said Hawkins.

Stu News Laguna is proud to feature LBHS students’ writing in partnership with the high school’s journalism class and the Brush & Palette student newspaper.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


© 2019 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.