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Clough says Rose Hill partnership ‘very positive thing for district’

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MASSENA — Massena Central School Superintendent Roger B. Clough says a recently enacted partnership with the Rose Hill Adolescent Chemical Dependency Program should be a positive thing for students and their families.

“I think this was a very positive thing for the district,” he told board of education members Thursday night.

Under the partnership, Rose Hill will provide free substance abuse evaluations and treatment referrals for any student or parent who is seeking help for a child in the district, whether or not they have insurance. That, school officials say, will help the district ensure its buildings are safe and drug-free and help students be more successful.

Jen Barron, a certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor, began visiting the district on Tuesday to provide evaluation services and subsequent referrals for families if students need further treatment. She is in the district every Tuesday and has her own office to meet with students.

With a parent’s permission, students can be referred to Ms. Barron if they disclose an abuse problem to school staff. Parents also can contact Ms. Barron directly without going through the school to get help for their child.

She not only will provide free evaluations, but also will help students and families find inpatient and outpatient help. Ms. Barron also plans to work with students who have come out of treatment, to help them transition back to school.

“The good thing about it is it’s free,” Mr. Clough said.

The partnership was the brainchild of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Committee. The committee includes residents, board of education members, administrators, nursing staff and guidance counselors.

School officials say the partnership addresses three concerns expressed by the committee: evaluating, referring and ensuring students are linked with the services they need; providing more education and prevention; and providing some type of care after they come out of treatment.

Ms. Barron can be reached at 764-3700, ext. 3188.

School officials also noted that starting this month, Rose Hill clinician Laurel Jay will begin an “Amazing Alternatives” program for J.W. Leary Junior High School seventh-graders.

That program, they said, will provide drug and alcohol education and guide students in positive decision-making.

Seventh-grade students will pick two students in each class to lead group discussions, class games, problem-solving and role-playing exercises. The goal will be for students to learn ways to resist the use of alcohol and to encourage each other to find alcohol-free alternatives.

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