Archived Story

Freeborn County has higher teen alcohol rate than neighbor counties

Published 9:32am Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Freeborn County students reported use of alcohol higher than Mower, Steele and Rice counties and the state average over a period of one month, according to a 2010 survey.

The Albert Lea school board heard from a representative from Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative about implementing curriculum that would reduce alcohol, tobacco or drug use in students.

Alice Englin spoke to the board about a survey the board had agreed to. She surveyed teachers to see what sort of curriculum, if any, they were using that was about prevention of alcohol or drug use.

“We know it’s a community issue,” Englin said. “There’s a lot of good things happening in the schools for prevention, but I don’t know that there’s anything really uniform that I can pull out of this.”

Englin said Mower, Steele and Rice use preventative curriculum in the classroom.

The curriculum she recommended to the board were Protecting You/Protecting Me, which is for first- through fifth-grades, Project Northland, which is for sixth- through eighth-grades, and Class Action, which is for ninth- through 12th-grades.

“All three are from Minnesota and are evidence-based,” Englin said. “It means they work; kids that go through these curriculum have reduced use.”

Superintendent Mike Funk said the next step for the curriculum would be for Englin to speak with the district’s curriculum committee. He said he liked the fact she did a survey with staff and that the results of surrounding counties using the curriculum looked impressive.

In other action the board:

• Discussed board and superintendent evaluations. They spoke about the importance of having structured goals and collaborating with other entities like the Albert Lea City Council. The board also discussed speaking in the community with service clubs and reaching out to the community through media outlets. Another response on the evaluations was to research initiatives at other schools to see if they’d be applicable to Albert Lea.

• Heard from Dan Dorman, executive director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, about a public hearing involving tax increment funding for Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen that will be held Monday at City Hall.


Teen alcohol abuse

Percentages of students who reported use of alcohol in a month in 2010:
County    Freeborn    Mower    Steele    Rice    State
6th grade    8                 4                4             4          4
9th grade    24              17              18           20        19
12th grade    45            48             35           29        41

Steele, Rice and Mower counties use Project Northland or Class Action curriculum, which the Freeborn County Family Services Collaborative is recommending Freeborn use.