January 10, 2018
Dear Parent or Guardian,
This letter is to let you know that I will begin the annual mandated screenings next Wednesday, January 17, 2018. At this time, I will be screening BMI, posture, vision and hearing. The purpose of the screenings are to find early signs of possible problems in students. This is not a diagnostic service but rather a screening to identify young people who should have further medical evaluation.
If your child has any unusual findings, you will be notified and asked to take the child to a physician as a precaution. The majority of students exhibit no findings. If nothing unusual is found, we will not be contacting you again until next year’s screening.
Screenings will take place during Wellness classes. During the postural examination, female students will be asked to wear a sports bra or tank top the day of the screening. This type of clothing permits more accurate observation of the back.
Last June I sent out a letter to the families of our 8th and 10th grade students introducing SBIRT. The data from our biannual Prevention Needs Assessment, which surveys students on a variety of issues including the use of substances, consistently suggests that a small number of our students try alcohol, marijuana and other drugs in middle school. Further, the survey results show that the number of students reporting substance use by the end of high school increases substantially.
In order to help prevent students from starting to use substances and to intervene with early use, I will be providing an interview‐based screening for 8th and 10th grade students about the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. This screening utilizes the most commonly used substance- use screening tool for adolescents in Massachusetts, the CRAFFT Screen II. Student screening sessions will be brief - only 5‐10 minutes - and conducted confidentially in private, one‐on‐one sessions during other routine physical screenings conducted by the school nurse in the 8th and 10th grade.
Students who are not using substances will have their healthy choices reinforced by the screener. The screener will provide brief feedback to any student who reports using substances or is at risk for future substance use. If needed, we will refer the student to our Guidance Department for further evaluation and contact parents. Results of the screening will not be included in your student’s school record. Your student will be handed back the completed screening results, which has helpful information for teens on the back.
As with any school screening, you have the right to opt your child out of this procedure. Please submit a written request to me, Nichole Russell, R.N., if you do not want the screening done on your child. Please understand that we recognize the screen for each student is voluntary, and some students may choose not to answer any or all of the screening questions.
One way to prevent youth substance use is to talk with your child about substance use. For ideas on how to begin these conversations, please visit the website www.drugfree.org. We are grateful for your support of Mt. Greylock. Together, schools and families CAN make a difference for our youth.
Nichole Russell RN