In wake of death, district plans to fight drug, alcohol abuse
Following the death of a local high school student, the New Albany-Plain Local School District plans to increase awareness about drug and alcohol abuse in the 2012-13 school year.
Ken Bores, 15, of New Albany died at Nationwide Children's Hospital after he was found unconscious June 14 in an apartment at 954 Cross Country Drive East in Westerville.
According to Westerville police reports, Bores was playing video games with friends at the home when he had a seizure. He fell unconscious and his friends were trying to revive him when police arrived.
In the police report, witnesses said they suspected Bores had ingested LSD and marijuana before arriving at the apartment. While officers were on the scene, they charged a 17-year-old girl with underage consumption and Michael Crabtree, 20, of 954 Cross Country Drive East, with providing alcohol to an underage person.
No drugs were found at the home, according to police reports.
Westerville police detective Ted Smith said the cause of Bores' death has not yet been determined. He said an autopsy is pending.
High school Principal Ric Stranges told the New Albany-Plain Local school board June 25 that Bores' death was devastating.
"It causes us to be introspective and reflective about what we could have done," Stranges said.
He said the school can do more this coming year, and teachers and students need to talk more about drug and alcohol abuse.
"The kids don't learn about it in school," said Bonnie Abramowitz, the high school's PTO president. "There's not a class that they teach. We need to give parents as much information as we can so they can talk to their kids."
Stranges said this past year, a new anti-drug club was formed, an FBI agent spoke to students about drug-related issues, and students spent more time in their "houses" -- the district recently established a house system reminiscent of Harry Potter to help students connect with their peers -- learning about the effects of alcohol and drugs.
Abramowitz said the PTO wants to sponsor a public event to help address the issues related to drugs and alcohol abuse.
"We'd like to focus more on that this year," she said.
Stranges said since Bores died, the school's Eagle Response team has worked with students, parents and staff members who were affected by the loss.
Ronda Anderson, a school counselor, said the team includes 18 people, mostly counselors and psychologists, who are available 24 hours a day.
"We are there to provide an additional level of support," she said. "People need to know that they are not alone and we can provide emotional support."
School board member Cheri Lehmann said prevention is the best option and encouraged the district to continue programming such as DARE, which educates elementary-age students on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
Stranges said the high school also has a full-time school resource officer, Kevin Deckop, on-site during the school year.
Stranges said a crisis hotline also is in place, but the district needs to increase awareness about it so students and parents can report suspicions anonymously.