Hamilton Schools board member raises awareness about addiction

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Hamilton Local Schools Board of Education member Wally Obert started the new year by opening his heart about the impact of addiction and the toll it takes on the community and families.

“Addiction is probably one of the toughest things for a child or a spouse or an individual to go through,” Obert said during the board’s Jan. 11 meeting. “Our community, when it comes to addiction, isn’t any different than any other community around and it doesn’t say we’re any worse or better. We just got the same problems.”

Obert started his remarks by discussing the death from addiction of two young athletes he knew many years ago.

“It’s one thing about educating our young adults, our young people, and then watching them die,” he said. “If we’re really, truly part of education, then we need a format somehow to reach them.”

Obert said he is aware some children educated in Hamilton Local Schools come from homes where abuse of drugs or alcohol is a common practice. However, he was quick to note the two athletes he knew who died from addiction were not exposed to it in their homes.

“They got it from the streets and they got from the schools,” Obert said. “We have to accept the fact there’s a problem and we need to be able to get some groups that can help young adults. I was blessed with an alcoholic father. I say blessed when I came to face to the same demons he did, I watched somebody I admired recover. Maybe if I didn’t see that, maybe I would have been one of the ones that didn’t make it.”

Obert said one way or another, the district needs to have information readily available in schools on programs that can help teens facing drug or alcohol addiction.

“They may look at it. They may take it. They may need it. They may be saved by it,” Obert said about the district’s YouTube channel. “I hope I got that message across.”

Other news
•Hamilton Schools Superintendent Mark Tyler said the most recent round of COVID-19 updates do not impact the district at this time. He reported there have not been any classroom quarantine situations where students were within six feet of an individual diagnosed with the virus.

Six feet is the standard established by the county in order to comply with social distancing.

Tyler also said he was “extremely excited” to get back to in-person instruction on Jan. 19 and reported the district’s goal is to be able to stay in a hybrid model for the remainder of the school year.

“We’re going to do our very best,” the superintendent told board members. I’m excited to see kids back in the buildings,” he said.

•David Schutte was re-elected board president and Jeff Sewell was re-elected vice president.

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