Copley Police Department officer Dwayne Scott held up what, by all accounts, appeared to be a red felt marker.

Copley Police Department officer Dwayne Scott held up what, by all accounts, appeared to be a red felt marker.

“A teacher wouldn’t think to take this from a kid,” Scott said before unscrewing the back of the marker and pulling out a small marijuana pipe. “We got this online for $10.”

The demonstration was part of the Copley and Bath police departments’ “Hidden In Plain Sight” program, which has visited more than 70 area schools since its inception and made its latest stop at Manchester High School on Tuesday.

The traveling display depicts a typical teenager’s bedroom and how everything from crushed pop cans, to half-filled water bottles and even underwear can hide myriad drug and alcohol-related items.

The parent-awareness meeting was organized by the Manchester High School PTA, school board member Kelly Dolan, and Manchester Middle School guidance counselor Stacy Pietrocini and also included a presentation by representatives from the Summit County Prosecutor’s office, who focused on cyberbullying and sexting.

“When you are in a small community, it is always about collaborating,” Pietrocini said of the impetus behind hosting the parent-awareness night. “We want to give parents the tools they need.”

The main message of the evening, however, was that adults are often outmanned by their own children when it comes to areas of technology and adult issues.

“The biggest shock to me is how these ‘adult’ issues are not just adult issues anymore,” said Pietrocini, who — like all of the speakers — is a parent. “It has infiltrated into our fifth, sixth and seventh grades, and they are not protected against any of it — and they are very smart and very sneaky. The more parents know, the more they can keep up.”

Apart from its visual display, the Hidden In Plain Sight program included both national and local statistics and case studies of teen drug, alcohol and other “risky behavior” related incidents from Scott, Copley Police detective Paul Webb, Bath Police dispatcher Lisa Baker and New Franklin Police officer Garry Prebynski.

Equal parts humorous and sobering, the law-enforcement officials’ words painted a picture of a generation of teens and preteens finding every way imaginable — and some unimaginable, such as “eyeballing,” directly ingesting vodka into one’s eyes — to get as high as possible as quickly as possible.

“All you have to do is look on the back of some of these household items. and you can see the alcohol content,” Scott said. “Drinking this bottle of Purell might be tough, but they are doing it.”

While the growth of hard drugs such as heroin in suburban America continues to make headlines, Prebynski said alcohol and marijuana remain the most widely abused substances by teens locally. More insidious, however, Prebynski said, is parent hosting of parties involving underage drinking. While collecting car keys at the door may seem like a good way to keep teens safe, it can also lead to prosecution of the parents, Prebynski said.

This and the legal ramifications of issues such as cyberbullying and sexting also were covered at the meeting by Summit County assistant prosecutors Joe Fantozzi and John Galonski, by outlining several high-profile cases of both cyberbullying — a phenomenon that, unlike school bullying of old, can follow the victim from school to school and even home — and the long-term psychological and legal effects of sexting.

“Kids think, ‘what is the big deal? What does it hurt if I send a topless picture to my boyfriend?’” Fantozzi said. “Well the big deal is that it’s against the law.”

Galonski explained that “sexting” includes the taking, possessing, requesting, or viewing of a nude photo of a minor - each of which can result in prosecution.

“So that’s pretty broad,” Galonski said. “If your son gets a text, looks at it, and it’s nude (he could be prosecuted). It’s a strict liability.”

Those who are convicted of such a crime, he added, must also register for life as a sexual offender.

“So you’re 16 years old, you think you are flirting with your girlfriend, and you become a sexual offender,” Galonski said. “And believe me; people know when a sexual offender moves into a neighborhood.”

Fantozzi said the sexual offender stigma goes even further.

“And you realize that goes on a job application - and applications for college and financial aid,” he said. “You are probably going to only get probation, but do you want to screw up college in a hurry? Take a topless photo and text it.”

Parents in attendance felt the meeting, though at times stomach churning was important.

“It is definitely good to know more about what kids are doing,” said Crissy Chainey. “My eyes were opened.”

Jill Grizer agreed.

“There are a lot of surprising things,” she said. “I can’t believe what kids do."