School PTOs host first joint community meeting

Published 4:15 pm Monday, November 25, 2013

Lonnie Layton of Bradford Health Services addresses Montevallo schools’ PTO members at the first community PTO meeting. (contributed)

Lonnie Layton of Bradford Health Services addresses Montevallo schools’ PTO members at the first community PTO meeting. (contributed)

By MICHELLE ADAMS / Community Columnist

The Montevallo schools’ PTOs held a joint meeting last Tuesday, Nov. 19 in the MHS Performing Arts Center. Each PTO for the elementary, middle and high school remain separate entities, though they are considering combining their efforts throughout the school year. This first community event is an example of this.

A presentation was provided for parents by Lonnie Layton of Bradford Health Services, who discussed current illegal drug use trends among adolescents. Layton discussed the signs of drug use and gave recommendations on when and how to talk to a child about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. A special emphasis was made on the popularity of synthetic marijuana, which possesses a chemical design that can adversely affect the user.

“Synthetic marijuana scares me more than just about anything,” Layton said. “Its mood-altering chemicals can cause hallucinations and seizures which can severely harm brain function and physical mobility. It is illegal and much more dangerous than adolescents are led to believe.”

Through knowledge gained at this meeting, parents are empowered to better understand and communicate to their children the dangers of illegal drug use.

Further community PTO meetings are planned with topics such as standardized testing and Internet safety.

“The coordination between the PTOs is beneficial for all our schools and the community,” MHS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester said. “We can help each school by having a more unified effort, planning fundraising activities and events more effectively, sharing ideas, using each school’s unique venue to help all the schools and simply having more supportive strength in numbers.”

At the high school, the PTO aims to involve more teachers and students in planning events and providing support, as well as having representation at city council and board of education meetings. This year, the PTO organized and sponsored a homecoming dance, the first in over eight years. Additionally, the PTO rewards honor roll students with a reception each nine weeks. Another goal of the PTO is to help students transition effectively from middle school to high school, and they are currently looking at ways to be involved in easing that transition for students.

“In this size community, it makes sense for the PTOs to work together,” Dr. Hester said. “We have a lot of connection and have a vested interest across all schools in Montevallo.”