Editorial: It’s about time to revisit the Darien High School student commitment policy

Darien High School

This week, Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner brought forward a proposal on revamping the current commitment those in Darien High School extra curricular activities currently sign.

A new commitment? Darien superintendent, board discuss revamping school substance abuse policy. 

The commitment requires those who sign it to not drink or use illegal substances or being in situations that include the same or otherwise suffer suspensions from that activity for a certain amount of days.

Dr. Brenner thinks the current commitment, while well intended, is not working.

He’s right.

It isn’t working because enforcement is selective and inconsistent.

It isn’t working because it isn’t having any long-term effect on the levels of teen drinking in town.

Might it also be that it isn’t working because it isn’t always in the athletic departments or teams best interest to enforce it?

This is not to say only athletes might violate the commitment — by any means.

But it’s likely that in some cases those who might violate the commitment could also be the best performing athletes on their respective teams.

And who would want to jeopardize the next game because the best performers are suspended for two weeks? Who would want to be responsible for getting those best performers suspended before the next big game and suffer social repercussions from their peers?

This is hypothetical, but the fact remains the commitment isn’t working. The high school’s current approach to enforcing it isn’t working.

Dr. Brenner says it isn’t a superintendent problem, it’s a community problem — and he’s right about that too.

The only way for this community effort to work is if we all pick up our oars and move this ship forward to produce a better, more effective policy.

And maybe take a look at the way our community pressures our young people to excel in all they do at any cost.

Even more importantly, our community needs to make our own commitment — a serious commitment —  to lead by a better and more effective example in our adults, teachers, coaches and parents.

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  • bcliff

    It appears that this policy falls primarily on athletes. Is that fair or effective?

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