Talk to Children about Inhalants

Dear Teacher

My 8-year-old daughter recently told me some classmates were breathing felt-tip markers to get high. I said this was a stupid thing to do and could even kill them. What else should I say?  

Unfortunately, children are discovering that common household products are the easiest way to get high. Depending on the level of dosage, users can experience slight stimulation, feelings of less inhibition, loss of consciousness, and even death.

The National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) says by the time a student reaches eighth grade, one in five will have used inhalants. According to the NIPC, education about inhalants should begin as early as age 4. Avoid relying on scare tactics or giving details on how to use inhalants. The NIPC suggests the follow for ages 7 to 10.

• Be a good role model when using cleaning products, solvents, glues, and other products. Let your kids see you reading labels and following instructions.

• Talk with your children about the term “toxic.”

• Discuss and discourage “body pollution” and introducing poisons into the body.     

• Stress the importance of oxygen to life, as inhaling many substances results in oxygen deprivation.




Understand the Common Core Standards

Our state has adopted something called the Common Core State Standards. What is the purpose of these standards? What subjects are included in these standards? How will they affect what is taught in the classroom?

The purpose of the standards is to get every child in grades K-12 ready for college and the workforce. The standards tell exactly what essential knowledge and skills students should have acquired at the end of each grade level no matter where they live. Don’t think of them, however, as a statement of all that can and should be taught. States, districts, and schools are free to add more content. Furthermore, the standards do not dictate how teachers are to teach, but they are going to require new teaching styles.

It is important to understand that these standards were a multi-state effort coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It is not mandatory for states to adopt them; however, most have done so since they were developed in 2010 by teachers, school administrators, and experts.

The Common Core State Standards are for math and English-language arts. You can definitely expect them to be part of new textbooks and standardized assessment tests in the coming years. These standards are likely to affect how many things will be taught in the classroom. It is expected that spelling will receive a lot less emphasis, cursive handwriting is likely to disappear and less time will be spent on math drills and memorizing facts. The emphasis is going to be on critical thinking, rather than repetition and rote learning. Plus, your children are probably going to spend more time working on projects and in teams solving problems.

The states are currently collaborating to develop common assessments that are aligned to the standards to replace today’s end-of-year state assessments. These new assessments will first be used in the 2014-2015 school year.

There are no efforts at the present time to develop standards in other academic subjects by the developers of the Common Core State Standards. However, separate organizations have developed or are now revising standards for science, foreign languages, and arts education. • Find out more about the Common Core State Standards online at


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