Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CAS Impact: At-Risk Middle Schooler Makes Changes

Polson Middle School 
{image: US Coast Guard

CAS provides Life Skills educational services for at risk middle school youth in a local school. Life Skills focuses on increasing students’ awareness of drugs and alcohol, teaching them how to make better decisions, and being aware of peer influences and how to navigate them with confidence. Sam is a 7th grade student who is a part of the Life Skills program. He was known as a bully, a class clown, and a teacher’s biggest challenge. His poor behaviors found him in trouble at school on a consistent basis which made Life Skills an ideal service.
One day, Sam was suspended for bringing drugs to school. The CAS Prevention Specialist, Nolan Goodman, was the individual who noticed he had them. Sam begged Nolan to give him another chance before reporting him. Nolan took this opportunity to teach Sam a critical life lesson. He told Sam that someone had to be an example of why it is never okay to sell or use drugs or bring them to school. He took the time to talk with Sam and continue to discuss the implications of his actions. Sam realized this decision would be one he would remember for the rest of his life. After a 2-month school suspension and attendance at alternative school, Sam returned. Nolan noticed Sam was behaving in a completely different manner in the following weeks. Sam had a positive atttude. He was polite to peers and teachers. He seemed to be a new person with a new outlook on life. His grades improved dramatically and the bullying ceased. When Nolan met with Sam and asked about the changes, Sam responded, “Mr. Goodman, if you hadn’t ever caught me, I probably would have never changed. Thank you.”

DIG DEEPER: Great Resources for Parents of Middle Schoolers: