As a leader for excellence in Catholic education, Chaminade Julienne continues to find ways to strengthen the Catholic educational experience for its students.
Because our school is guided by a clear mission to educate the whole person, work for justice, and develop a family spirit, CJ instituted and implemented a student support program in 2010 in partnership with Boston College, called City Connects at CJ. This program helps us align our efforts to remove barriers that might impede a student from performing at his or her fullest potential. The program’s five areas of focus are: academics, social/emotional well-being, career, health, and family.
In recent years, research and national and local news headlines have illustrated the growing problem of substance abuse in our society. In the fall of 2016, a fact-finding committee comprised of teachers and counselors from our City Connects implementation team, health professionals, and administrators took a fresh look at how the issue of substance abuse is affecting CJ students. After reviewing research, data and speaking to other schools that have successfully adopted a drug awareness and testing program, the committee recommended the adoption of student health and wellness initiative that includes new efforts to educate students on the dangers of the use and abuse of alcohol and illegal substance, provide tools that may aid students facing temptation, and help identify resources for students who have made unhealthy choices and seek a path to healthy living. This more proactive approach includes universal drug testing for every student, which began with the 2018-2019 school year.
The planning and implementation of the Drug Awareness and Universal Testing program was instituted not because we perceive that we have a widespread issue with substance abuse at CJ, but because we have come to understand more fully that CJ students, just like adolescents everywhere, are faced with difficult decisions about whether not to use and abuse drugs and alcohol. We feel called to develop and implement strategies that support them in becoming the young adults that God and their families want them to be.
Ultimately, we believe that this initiative will:
- Educate students for a lifelong understanding of the dangers of substance use,
- Empower students with tools that can assist them in moments of temptation,
- Provide students with four years of experience of establishing and reinforcing patterns of making health-minded decisions -- especially at a time when research shows that crucial brain development is still taking place through young adulthood,
- Cultivate students to become peer leaders, who, by example, are supportive to others in making health-minded decisions,
- Provide intervention strategies that address illegal substance use and abuse before what could become a disciplinary issue at school,
- Identify students who are struggling with abuse in their lives, and direct them to supportive resources in regaining healthy control of their lives, and
- Provide the expectation that CJ students will be drug-free, preparing them for the zero tolerance expectations they will find in workplaces, college athletics, and the military.