PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. At the Pleasantville Middle School, Principal Vivian Ossowski makes character education in the school a main priority.
Character education in all schools is huge but I think it is especially important at this level when kids are in this age level, Ossowski said.
Part of that character education has been instilling various substance abuse prevention programs within the school to educate students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. A certain group of sixth grade students are currently participating in a study being conducted by the Weill Cornell Medical College after the school reached out to the district to receive input from the students on topics such as myths and realities of tobacco and the effects of advertisements.
Through the study, Weill Cornell provided the school with 15 lessons free of charge on drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention for the students to learn in their health courses. Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter said that the drug prevention programs support a common goal for the Board of Education and the district.
We always want it to be a goal of ours to promote good decision making by our students, Fox-Alter said.
The middle school also took the initiative to partner up with the Pleasantville Police Department and Detective Jesse Wollman to provide a four-week drug and alcohol program for students in 7th and 8th grade as well. In the program, students are put into role playing situations to learn refusal skills in situations involving illegal substances on top of learning the dangers of these substances.
Hopefully we can create some attitude changes with these substances and also develop some refusal skills because the reality is that most of them will be put into situations where they will one day need to use those, Ossowski said.
Ossowski said going forward, she, Wollman and members of the schools health department will hold monthly meetings through June for parents of 8th grade students to inform them on what to do in order to keep their child on the track of a healthy lifestyle.
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