Brockton High School student art exhibit showcases youth gambling problem

BROCKTON A group of 14 Brockton High School students displayed their original photography Wednesday in the school’s fine arts building, bringing awareness to Brockton’s youth gambling problem through artwork .

Students in the middle schools’ PhotoVoice club, led by Brockton High photography teacher Amanda Dodge, created photographs and captions that illuminate the prevalence of play in children’s everyday lives.

Many people don’t realize gambling is as prevalent as it is, said Tayha Lesperance, a member of the PhotoVoice club and a junior at Brockton High. I notice it more now just knowing where to look for it.

At least 20 photographs were displayed in the school’s fine arts lobby at Wednesday’s art exhibit, showing images of parents holding lottery tickets, gas station signs advertising scratch tickets or students using betting apps sports on their mobile phones.

It’s definitely something they’re exposed to, said Cara Ferguson, prevention coordinator at High Point, an addiction treatment center in Plymouth County that partners with the BHS art department to bring the PhotoVoice club.

Tayha Lesperance, a junior at Brockton High School and a member of the school's PhotoVoice club, created two photographs for the PhotoVoice exhibit on April 24, 2024.

According to Ferguson, students are more likely to be exposed to problem gambling between the ages of 11 and 13 compared to substance use disorders, although most families perceive substance use to be more of a threat great for the health of their children.

Also, with Massachusetts recently legalizing online gambling and sports betting, parents, the Internet and social media have normalized problem gambling, Ferguson said.

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