The school district’s Be Proud program, a drug and alcohol prevention program high school students can voluntary participate in, will be offered to eighth graders beginning in January.
The change was announced at an anti-drug presentation at Wayne Hills High School recently.
The 7-year-old program is designed to give students an incentive to resist the temptation to take drugs or alcohol. Students and teachers in the program staged a special presentation about the dangers of underage alcohol and drug use in October.
“When everyone is doing something, it’s really hard to say no,” said Kenneth Palczewski, vice principal of Wayne Hills. “We want to give you that opportunity to say no and not have to stand alone because it’s always easier to stand up in numbers.”
Each student is assigned a number. Five numbers are selected at random each week. Students urinate in a cup and the solution is sent to a lab in California for testing. There was only one positive test out of 220 taken last year, Palczewski said. Results are kept confidential, but if a student does test positive, his or her parents will be notified.
Several eighth graders signed up for the program after the presentation.
Each high school has a student assistant counselor and a school resource police officer to assist students who may be struggling with drugs or alcohol.
Mark Dubois, school resource officer at Wayne Hills, said that multiple students were charged with possession of illegal drugs the week prior to the presentation.
Mike Zaccone, the SRO at Wayne Valley High School, and Dubois said they are there to help students and counsel them about the dangers of using alcohol and drugs. They said they want to be people the students can trust speaking with and not feel intimidated by.
Donna King is the counselor at Wayne Hills. She can be reached at 973-317-2022. Kim Mapp is the counselor at Wayne Valley. She can be reached at 973-317-2233.