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Hofstra University hosting school safety forum on issues affecting students

The Tuesday event will focus on providing parents with tips to identify if their children are using drugs and providing information from law enforcement and addiction experts.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder with County Executive

Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder with County Executive Laura Curran and District Attorney Madeline Singas speaks about upcoming NCPD School Safety Forum at Hofstra University on Thursday, Sept. 20, in Hempstead. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County officials will discuss opioids, mass shootings, cyberbullying and other issues affecting students Tuesday at a school safety forum at Hofstra University.

The agenda for the event, which will take place from 7 to 9 p.m., will be wide-ranging but Nassau police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said the issues are linked.

Some children who become targets of cyberbullying, he said, may turn to opioids and other illegal drugs, while others may lash out in violent ways. Young people who become addicted to opioids, he added, sometimes turn to violent crime to fuel their drug habits.

“They are all tangled up together and they all have one common denominator — our kids,” said Ryder, one of the speakers at the event.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and District Attorney Madeline Singas, along with addiction experts and other law-enforcement officials, are also scheduled to speak at the forum.

Ryder encouraged parents to attend the event, saying it’s important for them to learn how to determine if their children are abusing drugs.

“Too many parents are missing the boat,” he said. “By the time they learn this, it is too late. We need to get them engaged with us."

Ryder and other officials will discuss “Operation Natalie,” the department’s crackdown on the opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction led to an estimated 600 fatal overdoses on Long Island last year. Operation Natalie was named after Natalie Ciappa, a Nassau County teen who died from a drug overdose 10 years ago. Victor Ciappa, Natalie’s father, is scheduled to be one of the speakers at the forum.

Ryder encouraged teachers, school administrators and other Nassau County residents to attend — and share their concerns with authorities.

"We can listen and learn, too,” he said.

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