OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Board of Education is taking a proactive stance against synthetic drugs.
To that end, the district is planning some educational assemblies to be held in September to educate students as to the dangers of these products.
Prior to the start of Tuesday night’s meeting, Sarah Gauger spoke at the public session.
She said she is the sister of “the latest Oswego County victim of synthetic drugs.”
“I would like to raise awareness in the education community about the dangers of these poisons,” she told the board members. “I would like to educate teachers, parents and students … of the warning signs of people under the influence of these synthetic drugs, in order to get students help who are dealing with this addiction.”
“These unstable chemicals,” she continued, are causing lasting psychological and physical damage, which will interfere with their education and overall health.
The drugs are being distributed in “candy-like” packages, using the words “all natural,” she warned.
She said she wants teachers to be able to recognize the packages.
Counselors and teachers need to be aware of the problem to help parents and students struggling with this addiction, she added.
Superintendent Bill Crist said the school district has a responsibility to ensure its students’ safety. He complimented the Oswego Police Department for its proactive fight against these drugs, which “seem to be more pervasive in our community than anyone would expect.”
“The school district is taking a proactive approach. We’ve called upon the assistance of our physical education and health director to put in place some instruction in each of our physical education classes,” Crist said. “I’ve also had discussion with both our high school and middle school principals; to have school-wide assemblies that will help to educate those students in those grade levels about those substances and the negative impact that they have on the students and the lives of their family.”
He applauded Sarah for her courage to come forward and speak. And, he noted he’d like for her and her family to help with some of the presentations to students – “to provide some of the real life experience.”
“It’s disturbing when we look at the community, great things happen in Oswego, what beautiful things surround us … and then things like (these drugs) are just so destructive to our community as a whole,” the superintendent said.
The informational presentations will happen throughout the month of September, he said.
“We’ve been talking in the last several days about having a parent night, too,” he added.
The superintendent said he has had discussions with Farnham, the police, the hospital and others to take part in the effort to help parents understand the gravity of the situation.
“It’s just unfortunate that we have establishments in the city that are selling this stuff over the counter,” Crist said.
He said he meets monthly with the presidents of the Home and School associations and this will be a top priority for them, he said.