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Lex-Rich 5 talks mental health, bullying, and drugs in schools

Lexington-Richland District Five hosted discussions to offer more resources to parents for supporting their children.

IRMO, S.C. — After a close encounter with Saturday's Columbiana Centre Mall shooting, grandparent, Mary Reher showed up at a Lex-Rich 5 school district seminar.

Reher says the violent weekend opened her eyes to the dangers teenagers are facing in 2022, and made her want more resources for her granddaughter.

"All that terrifies me. She's 13 now and the little boy that was killed was 16... I'm just trying to keep her safe in a really unsafe world," Reher said.

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With recent events, the Lexington Richland school district says their 'Parent's Night Out' seminars about mental health, bullying, and substance abuse came at the perfect time. 

"Prevention is key and a lot of times when you look at serious crimes it always starts little and there's always warning signs," said Parenting and School Social Services coordinator, Jennifer Felkel.  "If we can put protective factors around our children so they know they are cared about and where to get help, they are going to be much more prepared."

Lex-Rich 5 hosted discussions about bullying at Dutch Fork high school, Mental Health at Irmo High, and a show and tell conversation at Chapin High school about Substance Abuse.

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"Just in Richland and Lexington counties as a whole, especially with students we are seeing more vaping, marijuana use, and even opioid use and we just want parents to be aware," said prevention specialist, Hailey Kanipe. 

The school district says if your child is having a problem with bullying you can download the "Stop It" app where they can privately report to school administrators. This service also offers a crisis line where students can get immediate mental health counseling.

For issues with substance abuse parents are encouraged to observe their children for behavioral differences first. If parents notice anything off, they are encouraged to contact LRADAC. Parents can also ask their school social workers or resource officers about getting special locks for prescription medications and guns as well.

Parents will get another survey to guide the topics for the next set of seminars in the fall of the upcoming school year.

RELATED: Experts warned COVID would hurt students' mental health. Now, teachers are living that reality

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