Forums conclude with discussion about crime prevention |

Forums conclude with discussion about crime prevention

Mary Thompson

A common thread wove its way into the five community forums on juvenile crime prevention – parental involvement.

The forums, hosted in October by the Community Oversight Council, are aimed at tackling community youth-related problems.

The topics discussed – teen crime prevention, drug and alcohol abuse, keeping teens busy, teen pregnancy and parental involvement – were selected by the Oversight Council in response to a 1998 survey of 181 teens and 357 adults living in the Bijou and Tahoe Valley residential areas.

The survey asked the participants to outline youth-related problems in the area.

Not getting enough love or attention from parents ranked fourth on the list of reasons why teens get into trouble – falling shortly behind the top three reasons of hanging out with the wrong crowd, trying to show off to peers and not having enough things to do.

In an effort to thwart teen trouble, the Oversight Council dedicated Wednesday’s forum to the topic of parental involvement – a solution that kept popping up at previous forums.

Mark Peck, of the Sierra House Elementary School Parents’ Club, urged parents to take part in their child’s life.

“You’ve got to make sacrifices,” he said. “Parents have got to get involved and that is a good role model for kids.”

Jojo Conroy of the Bijou Community School Parents’ Club, said she stays involved by helping out in her child’s classroom about once a week.

“There are many opportunities for parents and family members to get involved in this community at the school site – parent clubs, curriculum nights, back to school nights, open houses,” she said. “It really sends an important message to your child that you value, and see as extremely important, their education.”

Mark Romagnolo, vice principal of South Tahoe High School, said involvement during the teen years is a little different than the involvement at the elementary school level.

Rather than going into the classroom, he said parents can join the Boosters Club, chaperone for school social events and volunteer for the academic, music and athletics clubs.

Whatever the age, he said it’s essential that parents develop their own style of participating in their children’s lives.

“Parenting is very personal and very cultural,” he said. “Develop your own family values.”

Romagnolo said make sure those values are stronger than pop culture and peer pressure.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying no – children want guidelines and parameters,” he said. “They’re not going to come out and say this but that’s what they want.”

Some suggestions to increase parental involvement in the community include offering public transportation to school sites when parents’ club meetings are held, individually inviting parents to the meetings instead of sending out a newsletter invitation and holding mixed meetings with parents’ club members from different school sites.

Lynn Nolan, director of the Community Oversight Council, said a final meeting about all the community forums will be held Nov. 18. at the Lake Tahoe Unified School District office at 1021 Al Tahoe Boulevard.

“We’re going to follow through to the next step with facilitation and action steps of seeing some of the solutions implemented,” she said.

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