Principal’s presentation on drugs at high school

If you missed the presentation on March 12th 2015, here are the slides Dr Yannacone showed. You can also download the Powerpoint file. Referenced URLs are below the images.

Websites referenced:

Dr Yannacone provided handouts of the following

  1. Casual marijuana use linked to brain abnormalities
  2. How cannabis causes paranoia
  3. Deadly High: How synthetic drugs are killing kids
  4. Family strategies for prevention of adolescent drug use
  5. WSSD Policy 227

Principal Yannacone expressed concern over students’ perception that THC use has low risk (while nationally, teens DO perceive pot as risky). E.g., Teens understand that “drinking and driving” is dangerous, but somehow they think THC does not affect their decision-making ability. [FYI from Colin: according to DrugFacts, “12% of high school seniors admit to driving while stoned”; THC impairs driving ability but, strangely, drivers don’t perceive this impairment like they do for alcohol.] They also don’t view it as addictive, or detrimental to brain function. The legalization of pot in some states is making it increasingly hard to convince students otherwise. Aside from the actual risks of marijuana, regular usage of pot can lead to “trying” heroin in a casual setting among friends … so it’s gateway drug. Heroin is especially cheap and available in Philadelphia, and some schools in the area are having a huge problem with addiction. Detective Irey said that 4 former students have overdosed on heroin (1 died).

[FYI from Colin: States that have legalized marijuana for recreational use prohibit the use by anyone under 21 years of age. Many kids seem to not know this. Also, kids probably view part of pot’s low risk as “low risk of getting caught” … because if they ingest rather than smoke it, the smell won’t give them away. Also, parties at the high school might user breathalyzer (for measuring alcohol) but there’s no cheap gizmo that can be used to deter pot use. Finally, it might be good for parents and the school to completely stop using the phrases “drunk driving” and “driving while drunk” (e.g.) … and instead say “drugged driving” and “driving while drugged” … which are more inclusive.]

Detective Irey discussed the challenges of identifying candies and baked goods that contain THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). If you’re curious, here’s a Google image search for “THC candy”. Students used to smoking pot sometimes overdose on such candy because it’s slow-release relative to inhaling the drug … so they end up overeating the drug because the effect doesn’t hit them instantly. He recommended a National Geographic program for those interested in knowing more about heroin [from Colin: I think this is it].

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Principal Yannacone ( Assistant Principal Kristopher Brown ( and ’11-’12 Dean Thomas McLaughlin ( were also in attendance and welcome questions from parents. Finally, Detective Irey can be reached at

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Pssst, parents, want to hear about drugs?

This Thursday’s Home and School meeting will feature Officer Makunus the from Nether Providence Police Department and Dr. Yannacone, who will both provide information about drugs and alcohol (which is a drug, of course). The business meeting portion will be at 6:45 pm (all welcome!), with the drug presentation starting at 7:15 pm. In the library.

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Thursday (Feb 12) meeting on course selection

Thursday’s Home and School meeting will feature Assistant Principal Andrea LaPira, who will present, ” The ins and outs of course selection and scheduling”. The presentation will discuss how courses are mapped out over four years, plus tips on how to be helpful to your student.

Plus it’s contagious disease season! And the library would be extremely grateful for donations of tissues and hand sanitizer, so please bring some with you if you have extra around the house. If you have some but can’t attend the meeting, send the donations in with your kid.


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Copples Lane alert for AM drivers

If you are on Copples Lane at S. Providence Road, there’s a white sign that prohibits left turns during the morning hours when schools are starting. But what if you want to drive ACROSS S. Providence Road to the High School Driveway during morning rush-hour?

In a common scenario, a friendly car driving south on South Providence Road might allow you to cross, but then cars behind that car decide to pull around on the right (without slowing down), assuming perhaps that the first car has stopped in order to make a turn (which happens a lot). Those passing cars can hit you if you optimistically dart across two lanes of traffic. They can also hit students who might be walking along the side of the road (though they shouldn’t be walking there, of course). There are several other scenarios that demonstrate why darting across S Providence Road is dangerous. Those scenarios actually happen every morning.Darting across to the High School is dangerous.

So the sign really should say, “Right turn only” during the school starting hours. It’s only a signage oversight that makes the darting legal.

But it’s so convenient! And everyone is busy and it’s true, people have been darting across that road in the morning for decades. But if you can, please drop your kids off at the Middle School and have them use the crosswalk. It really is not a long walk for them, and they probably need the exercise.

Darting across S Providence Road

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U-turns during morning dropoff

Just a friendly plea to busy parents: please do not pull off onto the side of Providence Road to unload your kid at the High School. Also, please do not then make a U-turn in front of school. Impressionable kids might be watching.

U-turn in front of school

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Providence Road overpass

Just a random safety nudge for any parents reading this site: please urge your kid to use the overpass instead of darting across Providence Road. Some kids are doing it after school, and still others after games, practices, and rehearsals … in the dark.

Drivers on this road are rushing to get home and some are even texting (you can see their phone screens from the overpass vantage point). There are also lots of brand new drivers around high schools. Although your kid might be a fast sprinter, he/she is weighted down by 50 lbs of books.

Providence RoadIf your kid pooh-poohs your concern (likely), here’s some history that might get their attention: in December 1971, a car on Providence Road plowed into a crowd leaving a Nether Providence High School basketball game, killing 2, injuring 12. That accident speaks directly to a common feeling of pedestrians: “because I’m in a crowd, drivers will see us and slow down while we cross”. The driver in question was asleep (according to newspaper clippings I found). He’d been drinking, too.

In response to this tragedy, a pedestrian overpass was constructed. The steepness of the hill on that location of Providence Road was also changed so that drivers could better see pedestrians (and pedestrians could see cars). I’m assuming the mound of soil that ruins the view of high school from road is a remnant of that hasty regrading effort. I think there were also calls for sidewalks in the area … but that didn’t happen.

Students are urged by the administration to use the overpass, but because so many kids visit our school for games, we really should install signs like the one below (but in English).

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Superintendent to deliver address on the state of WSSD

Thursday December 11 at 6:30 pm. (That’s right, NOT 7:00 pm. Time change allows people to also catch the Middle School event.)

Dr. Noonan will bring us thoughts and ideas on the State of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

We will also be checking over (twice, of course) the wish list that the high school teachers submitted at the last meeting, and voting on what to fund. Come join us!

Just in case you’ve never seen Dr Noonan, here’s a photograph (he’s on the left):

Dr Noonan

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