CLEVELAND – In recent weeks, concerns surrounding fentanyl making its way through Cleveland ISD have led school officials to find solutions, informing the community and especially the students about the dangers of the drug.
In response, CISD has hosted a pair of public forums to address the growing concerns of illicit fentanyl finding its way into the hands of students and the rest of the community.
CISD invited several guest speakers on the subject following several overdoses by students across the district.
Coordinator of Health and Nursing Services Lacy Green, Director of Social Emotional Learning and Positive Behavior Intervention Support Dr. Tyra Hodge, and Houston HIDTA Drug Intelligence Officer Wendell Campbell joined leaders to tackle tough questions.
“What you see here tonight is a culmination of dedicated people working together, coming together, and doing what is best for kids,” said Superintendent Stephen McCanless, “ because in Cleveland ISD, the decisions that are made will always be best for kids, it may not always be the most popular decisions, but parents, the decisions we make will be what is best for you.”
There has been an uptick in the use of fentanyl and other drugs in CISD; on several occasions, Narcan, an emergency treatment for opioid overdoses, had to be administered.
“On Sept. 18, the message was sent out to the leadership team that this is the crisis. That this trend and this data is telling us something that we have not had in the past of Cleveland ISD,” McCanless said.
According to CISD Police, fifteen drug-related arrests have occurred on campuses in recent months.
“We look at the trend data,” said McCanless, “Are they doing this on their way to school, are they doing it as soon as they get to school, and what is it about early morning that this is taking place?”
One of the community’s main questions was where these drugs are coming from and how they get into the hands of kids and students.
“We have individuals in a foreign country, whether that’s China or here at the border of Mexico, making illicitly manufactured fentanyl, sending it to our country at such a rate that it’s become the number one cause of death for 18- to 45-yearolds,” said Campbell CISD also introduced a new program, COPS (Community on Patrol), whose success lies with community participation. The COPS program allows community members to apply to help monitor campuses after going through a training and background test.
Local law enforcement leaders also attended the event, with Cleveland Police Chief Darrel Broussard encouraging parents to know what their children were doing.
“ Listen to your children. Pay attention. Be nosy,” said Broussard.