Decatur Parents Network hosts speaker series

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Nia Schooler, standing center in red, introduces Dr. RK Avasthi during the most recent even in the speaker series. Schooler is co-chair of the Decatur Parents Network committee.

The results of the statewide Georgia Student Health Survey last school year indicated that Decatur students are drinking and using drugs more than in the past and more than peer and statewide schools, according to the Decatur Parents Network (DPN).

DPN is run through the Decatur High PTSA and ultimately serves as a resource to help improve relationships between parents and their children, according to their website.

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The Decatur Prevention Initiative is partnered with the DPN and provided information at the October speaker series. Their mission is to promote a healthy community free of the negative effects of drugs and alcohol, according to their website.

After the health survey, some parents found themselves asking “What do we do?” according to Jennifer Gonzalez, a
Decatur parent and teacher. The answer: “We go to a meeting.”

Since March, DPN has hosted four different experts in their fields as part of an informative speaker series. The subjects have ranged from “Drugs, Alcohol, & the Teenage Brain” to “Mental Health: Stress, Anxiety, & Depression.”

Decatur counselor Kimberly Jones has attended multiple of the events as a representative of the counseling department. The first meeting had an “enormous” turnout, according to Jones.

“You can never know enough to support your students.” Jones said on the importance of the speaker series.

The first event, held on March 28, was about taking actions against teenager’s risky behavior. The speakers included school superintendent David Dude, police chief Mike Booker and certified prevention specialist Jessica Andrews-Wilson. A Q&A was also posted about the event.

The next event in the series, called “Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Bias,” will be held on Nov. 9 at 7 pm in the DHS Performing Arts center.

Photos by Emilia Couture