December 18, 2017
Dear BHS Parent or Guardian:
In March, 2016, the Massachusetts Legislature passed bill House, No. 4056 which outlines the requirements for public schools in the Commonwealth to engage in substance use prevention and education. This new legislation mandates that school districts screen students in grades 7 and 9 for substance use every year. Information about this specific legislation can be found Legislation can at: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter52 (see Sections 15, 63, 64, 66). The Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program screening process is being incorporated into our annual state-mandated screening program. All screenings will be conducted confidentially by school counselors in private one-on-one sessions. We will utilize the CRAFFT II screening tool, the most commonly used substance use screening tool for adolescents in Massachusetts. Feel free to review the screening tools located here on the MA SBIRT website: http://www.masbirt.org/sites/www.masbirt.org/files/School%20SBIRT/CRAFFT-II_Interview_101816.pdf.
Students who are not using substances will have their healthy choices reinforced by the screener. The screener will provide brief feedback to any student who reports using substances, or who is at risk for future substance use. If needed, we will refer students to our counseling staff for further evaluation. This program focuses on harm prevention and does not generate disciplinary action. Results of the screening will not be included in your student’s school record. The goal of this program is to let the students know that we are available to reinforce healthy decisions and to assist them in obtaining support if needed for substance use-related problems.
As with any school screening, you have the right to opt your child out of this screening. Please contact Mary Conant-Cantor, Director of Nursing, at (617) 993-5807 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this program or if you wish to opt your child out of this screening by January 2, 2018. Additionally, screening is voluntary and students may also choose not to answer any or all of the screening questions at the time of the screening.
We encourage all parents/guardians to talk with their child about substance use. For ideas on how to begin these conversations, please see the enclosed reference sheet. Together, schools and parents/guardians CAN make a difference for our youth.
Daniel Richards Mary Conant-Cantor RN
Principal Director of Nursing