Box 113, Williamsport, PA 17701 Phone: 570-323-2050    Fax: 570-323-2051

Florida Youth Substance Survey

By Dr. Bell, Director of Student Services, Lee County School District in Ft. Myers, Florida

Resource Officers are all working together to educate the students of Lee County about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The district’s Safe and Drug-Free School Program is also providing programs that are having a positive impact on reducing violence in the schools.

The Safe and Drug-Free Schools (SDFS) program provides for 3 prevention specialists who go into 79 schools to provide training for staff, students, and parents in the following areas: Bully Prevention, Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution, Too Good for Drugs and Violence, Second Step and alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention. Safe and Drug-Free Schools also provide a stipend to a staff member at EVERY school in the school district to be an advisor for a school SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) club. These clubs provide opportunities for students to receive information about alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. The students are empowered to design activities and opportunities to disseminate this information to their peers and to their parents. A sample of these activities include: The Edison Junior Festival Parade, Family Fest, Car Shows, Cancer and Heart Walks, Weed and Seed Candlelight Vigil, etc.

The High School students participate in a Student Leadership Group and design and participate in an annual Student Leadership Conference that focuses on alcohol, drug, tobacco and violence topics. This group also serves as the Youth Advisory Council for the Lee County Juvenile Justice Council. Some of these students also get the opportunity to participate in the State and National SADD conference.

Safe and Drug-Free Schools also collaborates with local law enforcement agencies to develop opportunities to work together to educate parents and students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The School Resource Officers (SROs) work with the SADD advisors to support the SADD clubs at the middle and high schools. Many of our high school students have received training from the National Guard in “Night Vision” and have been able to travel to elementary and middle schools to share this tobacco, marijuana and alcohol information with them.

If the funding is eliminated at the federal level for Safe and Drug-Free Schools, all of these programs and all personnel are in jeopardy of being eliminated. The schools will not receive any more training on bullying prevention, Too Good for Drugs and Violence, Second Step (both proven programs) or other alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention and information. The SADD advisors would not receive supplements, support or coordination for their programs. The High School Leadership Council would not have a facilitator. There would be no one to update the website and no one to research and disseminate information to staff, students and parents about alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. Safe and Drug-Free School funding has proven to be effective and should continue in order to meet the needs of our students.