A $20,000 state grant will be used by the Port Washington Public Schools to increase drug awareness, the school board president, Karen Sloan said.
State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) helped obtain the funds.
The money will be used by the district’s Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force, which is led by Sloan and Stephanie Joannon, the district’s athletic director.
“Securing the money is very important, and very much appreciated, because all funding for any kind of programming for education and prevention of drug use and other risky behavior for our kids was cut a number of years ago,” Sloan said.
The goal of the task force is to develop and implement programs for students at all levels of the district that will make them aware of the danger of drugs, while trying to maintain a safe and drug-free learning environment, Sloan said.
“The Port Washington School District has been a proactive leader in combating these two significant threats to children’s safety,” Martins said. “These state funds will help the district’s Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force continue to present interactive programs that teach children how to prevent bullying and the importance of saying ‘no’ to drugs.”
The task force consists of district staff members, including teachers, social workers, guidance counselors and administrators, Sloan said. She added that volunteers from the community and parents pitch in, as well as police officers and clergy members.
“We all work together to bring in important programs for our students at every level of our district,” Sloan said. “We will use the funding for the programs we feel best serve to educate our students and parents on the most important and timely issues of the day.”
The Port Washington school superintendent, Dr. Kathleen Mooney, said that the task force is funded by district and outside donors “to promote and support various initiatives related to drug prevention, anti-bullying and much more.”
“We are very pleased that Senator Martins has selected the Port Washington School District as a recipient of the $20,000 grant,” Mooney said. “This money will enable the task force to continue its mission of implementing comprehensive school and community programs fostering a safe and drug-free learning environment.”
The task force also focuses on preventing bullying and bringing students together, Mooney said. On Sept. 28-30, the elementary schools will hold assemblies and presentations for a program called “Power of One,” a plan promoting school-wide togetherness, and on Oct. 19, the district will be celebrating Unity Day and participating in a district-wide walk.