Just a few months after Stevenson High School garnered media attention for an investigation into on-campus drug sales, the Lincolnshire school will host a public forum about adolescent drug use next week.
Dubbed a community symposium, the panel discussion will feature representatives of local police departments, the Lake County court system and a drug-recovery program. They'll talk about the consequences of drug use and provide guidance for families.
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The event is set to run from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 in Stevenson's performing arts center. The school is on Route 22, west of Milwaukee Avenue.
Stevenson officials teamed with representatives from Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills and Libertyville high schools to organize the discussion.
The program was in the works before the drug investigation at Stevenson High, which led to the arrests of two students and the recovery of a small amount of marijuana, Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey said. An undisclosed number of students faced in-school disciplinary action, too.
Stevenson has held similar forums each of the past few years, always in the spring to coincide with prom season, Conrey said.
"It's a pretty fortuitous time to talk about these things," he said.
There are no plans to assess the recent drug investigation, Conrey said, but it could come up during a question-and-answer portion of the event.
Panelists will include Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes, Assistant State's Attorney Danielle Pascucci, trauma surgeon Dr. William Watson and representatives from the Buffalo Grove and Lincolnshire police departments.
The drug-fighting Metropolitan Enforcement Group and a group called Family and Adolescent in Recovery also will be represented.
"This forum will increase community awareness and educate on teen drug trends and how to better identify the signs and symptoms," Margaret Pither, a student assistance program coordinator at Vernon Hills High, said in an email. "Resources will be shared and questions parents and community members have will be addressed."
Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials aren't new to the concept of drug forums. They held a town hall on the subject with other schools in 2010, Pither said.
"These community discussions and all our prevention efforts are powerful in counteracting and fighting (the) battle against drugs," she said.
About 200 people attended last year's forum. Conrey hopes more than 500 will attend Wednesday.
"I think this is especially timely," Conrey said. "We would hope people would realize what a serious situation this is, and we hope they will turn out."
Although the program is aimed at residents of the school districts hosting the event, anyone can attend, Conrey said.
The discussion is free to attend. To register, visit communitysymp2012.eventbrite.com/.