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Long IslandEducation

Prevention program Jan. 26

The Port Washington School District has been the sponsor of the Safety and Substance Abuse Task Force for more than 20 years. This group, made up of school district staff, parents and professionals works hard to keep students safe and to fight against drug and alcohol abuse.

Parents need guidance to learn how to recognize warning signals of drug and alcohol use and how to talk to their children about topics that may be difficult. They want a place to ask questions to help them become better parents.

On Tuesday, January 26, the Task Force will present, “What You Don’t Know Can Harm Your Child” in the Schreiber High School Auditorium at 7 pm. This presentation is for parents of children of all ages and will answer questions and inform parents about what they can do to keep their children safe. Everyone in the community is encouraged to attend.

"Our focus this year for the Task Force is to be a true outreach organization. We want to utilize the resources available to us to educate the parents in the community about how to keep their children safe and help them make good choices," explains Stephanie Joannon, District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics and Co-Chair of the Task Force. “The presentations we have planned for the community include school district teachers and guidance counselors along with outside agencies to give a broad perspective of what is happening with our children in our community."

This second community presentation will feature speakers from within the school district and outside of the district who have real knowledge and experiences with students of all ages. There will be three separate sessions to address those issues that affect each age level and give parents the opportunity to listen, learn and ask questions.

For parents of children in elementary school, Guidance Counselor Jennifer Biblowitz and Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, a representative from North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center, will speak about warning signs and behavior changes that occur at this age. They will speak about the changes developmentally and socially your child will experience at this age both at home and school. Awareness and understanding are key to this session and parents are encouraged bring their own questions to have answered.

For parents of children who are in middle school, Weber health teachers Harriette Gold and Traci Drexler, joined by a representative from DAYTOP, will speak about issues affecting this age group. The teachers will speak on what they are teaching in the classroom along with what they are hearing from the students. Critical conflicts arise with this age group, including self esteem, peer pressure, alcohol and drug experimentation, prescription drug abuse and sexting. This will be a frank and eye opening session and we encourage parents of this age group to actively participate in the question and answer segment.

For parents of high school students, the session will address the real life situations that can and have happened in the lives of students. Whether or not they have been directly involved, all students are impacted in some way. Parents of high school aged children need to know some of the consequences of bad decision making and how they affect everyone. Dr. Debbie Levine, an emergency room doctor will talk about what she has seen in the ER with high school aged students. Much does not get out to the public, so this will be an eye-opening session. A parent and a former student from DAYTOP will speak about some of the warning signs and obstacles facing parents as their child becomes more independent. You will hear about the need to be a strong parent and strategies on how to be that parent from those who have been through it.

“It takes all of us working together to keep our community well informed and our children safe," says Board of Education President and Task Force Co-Chair Karen Sloan. “Knowledge is power! This program promises to make all of us more knowledgeable and effective.” If you have any questions, contact either of the co-chairperson of the Task Force, Stephanie Joannon at or Karen Sloan at


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