Utah school counselors and the Utah Coalition for Positive Values are seeking cooperation from the media, the business community and the producers of alcohol and tobacco in a commitment to be examples of high moral values.
Capitalizing on Jesse Jackson's visit Thursday to Weber State College, the counselors held a news conference in the State Capitol to outline a program they hope will encourage teenagers to complete their schooling and embrace commonly accepted moral values.Adolescents will be encouraged at the same time to avoid the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse, early pregnancy, dropping out of school and other unwise practices.
"School counselors in this state witness every day the horrible cost when young people fail to reach their potential and drop out of school," said E. Mark Bezzant, president of the Utah School Counselors Association. "We (parents and school counselors) have spent far too much time blaming one another and too little time joining hands to find solutions."
The coalition and association proposed eight statements of positive values designed to help teens reach their full potential.
Popular celebrities, sports figures and media personalities can help reach youth, Bezzant said. "They have a moral responsibility not only to entertain, but to inform, inspire and reward our young people for achievement."
He said the coalition will send letters to local media promoting that position. Businesses also will be asked to develop market strategies that let young people know it is "cool to do well in school."
Representatives of the tobacco and alcohol industries will be urged to "make it explicitly clear that they do not want minors consuming their products in any form."
Educators can participate by encouraging individual student education plans to meet the needs of each student, Bezzant said.
EIGHT STATEMENTS OF POSITIVE VALUES
*Each person is of worth and should use all available personal, family, community, religious and school resources to reach their potential.
*Respect is essential for laws, parental guidance, the institution of the family and for individual religious, cultural, racial and ethnic heritages.
*Positive language should be fostered, excluding lewdness, vulgarity and profanity.
*Respect for the rights of people, animals and property is necessary.
*Support for the work ethic, including consistent attendance, promptness and effort equal to one's ability, should be encouraged.
*Healthy lifestyles, including abstinence for drugs, alcohol and tobacco, should be promoted.
*Honesty and integrity should be encouraged.
*Media that promote the above values should be fostered.