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RCSD Community Update: 3/17/23

Dear RCSD Community,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We successfully dodged a weather event on Tuesday even as communities further north had a snow day, and in many cases, a delay on Wednesday morning due to icy roads.  I will confess that I did have a snow day call “in the can,” so to speak. Hopefully, it will stay there until next winter.

Community Budget Cafe Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be holding our Community Budget Cafe in the RMS Multipurpose Room. We will have coffee and breakfast treats for those looking to fortify themselves whilst learning about various aspects of the RCSD budget from RCSD administrators and school principals. We hope to see you then! To learn more, see the flyer linked here.

What IS a School Counselor?

Back when many of us went to high school, we had something called a Guidance Counselor. They helped students navigate the world beyond high school, either with college application advice or post-high school career counseling. These days, the role has changed, and so has the title. They are now known as School Counselors.  In addition to career and college counseling, much of which takes place during a student’s junior and senior year, they help students with academic, career, and social-emotional development. And they’re no longer just at high school, they are at middle and elementary schools, too! Today’s School Counselors serve as a bridge between students, families, and teachers, work with students and their families to chart a path of classes that suits their students’ goals and strengths, help students navigate the sometimes choppy waters of school life through one-on-one meetings, school assemblies, and classroom lessons and curriculum. 

We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful school counseling team that positively impacts the social-emotional growth of our students across all grade levels. 

Marijuana Edible Use Among Students

Several weeks ago, we sent an email to High School parents about an incident of suspected fentanyl poisoning of students at a neighboring community’s high school. Since that time, I’ve spoken to a number of parents who were surprised to learn that our students have access to (and are taking) marijuana-laced gummy candy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but schools across the region see cases of THC (the main psychoactive compound in marijuana) poisoning in schools and at school events more frequently since the legalization of recreational marijuana. In some instances, students have eaten a gummy candy not knowing what was in it, and then felt sick afterward. We experienced this recently at a school event. Thankfully, all of the students are OK, but it was a frightening situation. 

This is happening with alarming regularity, in part because the new breed of marijuana gummies/edibles closely resembles mainstream candies and are packaged as such. Often, you have to look closely to see “THC” marked on the packaging (see this article on An important factor to know is that these edibles are very potent with alarmingly high levels of THC, far greater than marijuana that was common in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.

It’s  a very scary situation that needs to be addressed by all of us, parents and school staff together, in order to keep the children of our community safe. We hope you will begin having conversations with your children at home as we focus our efforts at school.  We have asked RyeACT (Rye Action for Children and Teens), our community’s substance abuse prevention coalition, to come and speak to our parents to help them navigate this new world. We are looking at dates in mid-April, but in the meantime, they have passed along some resources:

1) RyeACT’s K.N.O.W.2Prevent Virtual Speaker series has had some excellent speakers specifically on the topic of marijuana. Here are links to three particularly good videos:

2) The K.N.O.W.2Prevent Collaborative has put together resources specifically related to marijuana and its impact on youth

3) The Partnership to End Addiction has an excellent "Marijuana Talk Kit" for parents to help them speak with their children about marijuana use:

Phone Scams

I’ve had three parents tell me they were targeted by phone scammers over the past several weeks. The scammers call the parent, and a “child” is sobbing on the phone claiming he or she has been in a car accident and is hurt, and then hands the phone to a purported police officer. The “officer” tells the parent that the child was the cause of the accident and has also injured someone else, and then asks for money. Apparently, this scam usually targets grandparents, but clearly, the scammers are happy to extort parents as well. Please remember you can always call school front offices to confirm that your child is safe. 

Sláinte (Irish for “health”),

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools