Student Assistance

About the Team

Middle School is a time of tremendous challenge and change, for our students and their families. While we hope our children will make constructive decisions, we know that they will make some mistakes. Some of the choices they make could impact them for years to come. We all know good kids from good families who have problems with alcohol and other drugs, or who get involved in violent activities. Though we can do much to protect our children, we recognize that no one is immune from substance use and violence.

Student Assistance is a Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities project, in place in all Montgomery County secondary schools. Our purpose is to identify and intervene with students who are showing signs of problems relating to violence or substance use. We help families obtain free assessments by professional treatment providers, who then refer to appropriate services. This is a confidential process, and does not involve reports to police or juvenile services. Students may be referred to Student Assistance by family members, school staff, or other students. Students may refer themselves.

Anyone who has concerns about a student may obtain aConfidential Concern Form fill it out, seal it in an envelope marked CONFIDENTIAL, and place it in Ms. Stenger's mailbox. The team will collect data relating to academic and behavioral indicators, and give that information to parents, along with referrals to professional assessors.

You do not need evidence to submit a concern form. It is for the professional assessor to determine what the problems are. The purpose of the process is always to help, not hurt. The entire process is confidential, and the Concern Form need not be signed. Information gathered in the Student Assistance will never be discussed outside the team and family. There will be nothing in the student's school records to indicate the involvement of Student Assistance, and we do not retain paperwork.

Helpful Links

Signs and Symptoms

  • Changes in academic performance: low grades, incomplete work, unprepared for class, low motivation, poor task attention
  • School attendance: frequently late or absent, suspensions (in or out of school)
  • Extracurricular activities: lost eligibility, little involvement, misses practice w/o reason, lacks hobbies or interests
  • Behavior: sleeping in class, defiant, aggressive, attention seeking or disruptive, appears depressed or anxious, argumentative, irritable, inappropriate emotional responses, poor affect, borrows money, dishonest, tests limits
  • Physical Appearance: Pale complexion, dark circles under eyes, facial swelling,
  • Constantly hungry or loss of appetite, slurred or rapid speech, bloodshot eyes, dilated or pinpoint pupils, frequent complaints of feeling sick, frequent requests for health room passes, weight loss or bulking out.
  • Alcohol and other drugs: Talks or gestures about AOD* use, others report AOD talk or use, wears AOD clothes, jewelry, odors of marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, chemicals
  • Tobacco use.
  • Legal: Prior arrests, probation, other violations of the law.
  • Violence: poor social interactions, withdrawal from peers, feels rejected, victim of violence, picked on, persecuted, violence in writings, drawings, uncontrolled anger, bullying, intimidating, discipline problems, violent/aggressive behaviors, intolerance, prejudicial attitudes, affiliation with gangs, access to firearms, serious threats of violence
  • Peer Relations: Change of friends, older social group, associates with AOD users, avoids peers, sudden status with peers.
  • Family: Family under stress, runaway, or unaccounted for time periods, alienated from family, possible family AOD use.

*AOD Alcohol and other drugs