“Hidden In Plain Sight” gives parents new perspectives

Between conferences, social workers offer parents a look at a ‘typical’ teen’s bedroom


In between conferences, parents were invited to “Hidden in Plain Sight,” a display organized by the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition to show parents what they might find in a typical bedroom.

Kyla Henige, News Editor

Parent-teacher conferences took place on Thursday and Friday last week. Parents and students stopped in to the cafeteria between conferences to see the new teen room model called “Hidden in Plain Sight.”

Designed to be a teenagers bedroom, the purpose in “Hidden in Plain Sight”  was to show parents potential signs of drug abuse and help them point out small objects that look harmless but can cause damage to a teenager. 

The room was organized by McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition as a way to provide more safety into households and help recognize greater issues concerning teens.

In the room, there were items such as; a “BEER” sign, energy drinks, pills, liquid medicine, aerosols (which can be used as inhalants), shot glasses, and much more. Alongside this setup, social workers set up a presentation table where a display held several different types of vapes pens, vape products, and nicotine, so parents can be aware of what they look like, smell like, and where or how they can be hidden.

Maura Reid is one of the Social workers who helped with the idea of the room and organized the event.

“The ‘Hidden Room’ display can hopefully start some dialogue between teens and their parents about risky behaviors,” says Reid. “I think the ‘Hidden Room’ gives parents insight into what they can look out for if they have a concern that their child might be drinking, using drugs, self-harming, etc.  The goal is to provide education to parents about the different items and what they might mean.”

Several of the parents who went into the cafeteria to see the display were shocked to see paraphernalia they never knew about, places where kids could hide them, and how harmless objects at home can be made into something dangerous.

Students were also impacted by the realities posed by the room, including as West sophomore Caitlyn Parks, who found it to be interesting and very important.

“I believe that it’s [the display] a good idea because teenagers may not know how harmful drugs can be,” says Parks, “and if parents warn teens about the real dangers behind these drugs, it could help the teens out in the long run.”

The school and the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition encourages parents to have open conversations with their children about drug usage and to be alert at all times.