Schools are a place of learning and gaining knowledge but it seems some students have something else on their mind. Recently, two fifth grade students from the Austin Independent School District’s Graham Elementary School were caught sharing drugs with their classmates, as per a letter sent by the school authorities to parents in March 2018. One of the students’ grandparents expressed shock and said that this was least expected from students of an elementary school as they appear to be so naive. While five kids were suspended, three are back and two are expected to resume sometime in April. Though Xanax was the drug being discussed, the school has not confirmed yet. Parents are upset because they haven’t been called for any meeting to discuss the matter. Suspension is not the solution In 2017, the Texas government banned most out of the school suspensions from pre-K to third graders except if drugs, alcohol, weapons, assault or sexual assault were involved. Susan Dawson, E3 Alliance (Education Equals Economics) president, said there are federal laws in place for some of the situations. However, there are other tools which can be more effective in disciplining the students. Texans Care for Children released a report that discussed the impact of suspensions on pre-K to second graders. Dawson stated that every time a student is suspended, he or she loses important learning time and may walk down the wrong path, which is especially true for low-income group students from colored families. During 2015-2016, more than 100,000 Texas pre-K, kindergarten, first and second grade students had received suspension. The report also showed that in comparison to girls, boys were more likely to be suspended and in comparison to white students, black students were two times more likely to receive in-school suspension. Similarly, those receiving special education were also two times more likely to be suspended while students in foster care were thrice as likely to be suspended. Dawson stated that she was hopeful that other measures will be instituted at local and legislative levels, which look beyond suspension and termination, especially in case of young children. Tips to prevent drug addiction in children Parents and teachers need to connect with children more and teach them about the potential harm of drug abuse. Children must be told about the impact of drugs on one’s life and damage it causes right from an early age. The more this discussion is procrastinated, the greater the risk of child getting into an addiction. One might be hesitant to initiate the conversation, but it is essential to safeguard a child’s future. Here are a few tips to help protect a child from falling into the pit of drug abuse: It is important that medications are stored under locked cabinets and the keys are kept in places that are out of reach of children. Parents should know about their child’s friends and people he/she frequently interacts with. If children know they are being watched, they will be more cautious. Parents and teachers should try to inculcate resilience among children so that the little disappointments of life do not make them so vulnerable that they are pushed towards abusing substances. This can be done by being supportive of the child, appreciating him or her for whatever he/she achieves and always keeping the line of communication open. Setting rules at home is important. If a child abuses drug or alcohol, parents can reduce their weekly allowances or access to other leisurely activities. Parents and teachers should never take drugs or alcohol in front of their children as it would set a bad example and a child will be tempted to try stuff. Schools should have counseling services in place so that children know where to seek support in difficult times. Parents should educate themselves about the effects of drug or alcohol abuse and be active in spotting any unusual behavior in their kids. Holistic treatment for substance abuse Children are impressionable and should be handled with utmost care. They should never feel alone at any stage and receive unconditional support from parents as well as teachers. If addiction is suspected, the child should be provided appropriate treatment and counseling instead of being punished.