The Park City School District and the Summit County Sheriff’s office will host an event on Monday for parents and caregivers to learn about issues that threaten the wellbeing of our children. They’ll have an expert talking about the Dark Web, deadly drugs and overall risky elements that are easily accessed through the internet. Carolyn Murray has this:
The Front Line/Blue Line event is a joint effort between the Park City School District, the Summit County Wellness Alliance and the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Lieutenant, Jason Hemingway says anyone who works with kids are the Front Line Partner in this collaboration between law enforcement and the community.
“So, Front Line Blue Line is associated with parents, adults who have children, interact with children, watch children, interact with them on a daily basis, to strengthen their relationships with their children. With the many different issues that surround our communities, educating them with the things that present daily dangers to us every single day. Right, law enforcement professionals, parents and adults working together to make it a safer community for out kids.”
Park City School District Associate Superintendent of Wellness, Ben Belnap says the school district is working to create a wrap around model for helping kids avoid unhealthy choices. It means using community partnerships and creating a positive association with the police force.
It’s a community event that is open to anyone 18 or older. Special Agent, Clinton Kehr from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency will speak about the Dark Web. Belnap hopes this guest speaker will educate parents and address problems up front.
“He can come in here and connect with our parents and help our parents to recognize the dangers of what’s out there, what our kids are getting into. We really want to focus in the school district and of course in the community on prevention. And, this is a huge preventative piece. Rather than coming on the back end with therapy and mental health support, however that is, we can help catch these problems early on. We already know that some of our students have already gotten into some trouble on the Dark Web and accessing things that are really dangerous.”
Many had never heard of the Dark Web until a couple of years ago when two 13-year-old Park City boys overdosed from the deadly opiate, Pink, which was ordered from China through this connection. Hemingway says gambling, child pornography, fraud, identity theft and any kind of illicit and predatory behavior…things that would otherwise be illegal, can be found on the Dark Web.
“Like I said, educating parents on what’s affecting our communities at this time and I think this is a subject that will draw a lot of interest in helping people understand behavors associated with accessing the Dark Web, the dangers of it. Just an upfront education for people, kind of Dark Web 101. Lots of these things are targeted on the Dark Web. Peer to peer sharing networks and you can share this information and you can purchase it. From what I understand it’s content and purpose.”
Belnap says it’s important that the work they do in the schools aligns with what’s happening at home. He says all the resources they’ve put into the whole child wellness programs will take time to show results.
“I don’t believe we will really see the impact of our efforts for several years. Because it is all about prevention, we don’t want to increase our police presence and rug dogs and we don’t want to be busting these kids. That’s not the goal. Our goal is to create awareness and help kids understand the dangers of it. We have a lot of really great clubs and peer groups within our secondary schools. A lot of the work that Sam Walsh, our intervention counselor at the High school has done to target leaders and a lot of this message has spread from peers and dwe are seeing a huge positive peer influence at our high school and we are hoping that we can make a difference.”
Belnap says the messaging starts at a young age.
“I know I was taught in High School…you do drugs one time you’re going to get addicted, it’s going to kill you and you’re going to end up dying an early death. The issue with that is that when somebody tries drugs for the first time, it’s like wow, you just made liars out of all of us. I am not addicted and that was actually really fun. So, what we need to spread is you cannot maximize your potential. You have so much within you. You can do wonderful things. And, why would you put yourself in a position to limit that potential. That’s the message we try to spread at a real young age. We have awesome counselors in the elementary schools and then of course it gets a little bit more intensive as we get older.”
Park City Superintendent, Jill Gildea will be available to meet the public at 5 pm and Guest Speakers are scheduled to start at 6 in the Eccles Center. Professionals from the community will have resource booths set up in the adjacent High school gymnasium. That’s the Front Line/Blue Line event on Monday, September 10th.