HOISINGTON – “Underage drinking needs to stop.” That’s the message a group of concerned parents and community members are working to spread throughout Barton County.
The Hoisington Task Force met Wednesday to discuss strategies to create awareness that underage drinking does not need to be the “rite of passage” many teens think it is.
“When you look at the state average, Barton County is above the average when it comes to underage drinking. This includes use and favorable attitudes about drinking among teens,” said Pat Reinhardt, principal of Hoisington Middle School referring to data obtained by the annual Kansas Communities That Care survey administered to students sixth through 12th grades.
Reinhardt is spearheading a grant aimed at the prevention of underage drinking and changing the “favorable” attitudes many teens have regarding underage drinking.
“The Hoisington Task Force has been meeting for a few months now coming up with strategies on how we can best utilize the grant,” she said. “The grant ends in June so we have a limited time and we want and make the most of this opportunity. We are working hard and coming up with some great ideas. I really appreciate the parents and community members who are helping with this important task.”
Reinhardt said some of the ideas the task force is thinking about include a media and Facebook campaign that highlight the dangers of underage drinking.
The principal gave a special thanks to the Barton County Sheriffs Department, Barton County Juvenile Services, The Regional Prevention Center and all the parents and community representatives that attended the planning sessions and is extending an invitation to the public for future meetings.
“Anyone, and this includes youth, who is interested in helping keep our teens and community safe from the damaging effects of underage drinking is more than welcome to attend,” Reinhardt said.
The next Community Task Force is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Unified School District 431 office, 165 W. Third in Hoisington. For more information contact Reinhardt at 620-653-4951.