Hopi Jr/Sr High School votes to hire a Safe Schools program technician to ensure a drug-free safe zone

POLACCA, Ariz. - The Hopi Jr/Sr High School Governing Board voted unanimously to hire a safe schools program technician.

This staff member would be in charge of proactive preventive activities to ensure a drug free safe school environment. This staff member would be in charge of bringing back drug and alcohol prevention programs such as Counteract and Fatal Vision programs.

Hopi Jr/Sr High School had these programs several years ago, but they were based on grants that ran out.

The school has several programs in place to deal with students who are caught abusing drugs or alcohol such as security guards, security cameras and a new policy that keeps students off sports teams and other extra-curricular activities longer if they are caught using drugs or alcohol. The school also has substance abuse counselors for the junior high and high school.

Paul Reynolds, superintendent of Hopi Jr/Sr High School, pushed for bringing back the drug and alcohol prevention programs. He also said:

*The school is considering working with Hopi Police Officer Paul Sidney to setup a task force to address drug and alcohol use not only at the school but throughout the communities.

*The school is looking at getting lights for the baseball and softball fields so that youth will have a wholesome activity during summer nights.

"We want youth to have proactive programs to keep them from getting involved in drugs and alcohol," he said.

Reynolds noted that drug and alcohol use is up when schools starts, but diminishes as the school year goes on.

Board member Leon Poleheptewa questioned whether everybody can commit to the drug and alcohol prevention programs including parents. Reynolds responded that sometimes it's hard to get the parents involved.

"This would get the students involved," Reynolds said.

Board President Valerie Koiyaquaptewa said she would like to see data from the substance abuse counselors at the school about what impact they are having on the students.

But she said the communities need to be proactive about addressing drug and alcohol issues.

"I don't think it's the school's fault," she said. "It comes from the home."

The safe schools program technician would be paid about $9.90 per hour and report to the federal programs director. The qualifications for the job call for either an AA degree, 60 credit hours or five years in a related field. The applicant must be familiar with the community, pass a background check, have the ability to work with school employees, students and the public.

The responsibilities would include:

Working closely with the substance abuse counselors coordinating resources and information; Working closely with administrators and staff for classroom presentations; Assisting in facilitating proactive educational programs that address the use of alcohol and illegal substances; Assisting the federal programs director in developing educational programs for classroom presentations regarding alcohol and illegal substances; Representing Hopi Jr/Sr High School on task forces or other organizations that address alcohol and illegal substances; Participating in anti-bullying programs and promoting self-esteem student programs. Assisting the federal programs director with managing the documentation and reporting of Safe Schools Programs. Acting as Hopi Jr/Sr High School liaison to the community regarding Safe School Programs. Acting as school contact with all other law enforcement agencies; Attending professional development activities to improve knowledge and trends on safe school issues; and Assisting in providing training for school personnel.

In other school board business:

The board approved participation in the 2012 Arizona Youth Survey; The board approved adding additional math and science requirements for graduation; The board approved hiring an additional high school math teacher. The board approved trips for the senior class, and junior high and high school Close Up.

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