Cocalico Addiction Awareness Summit, follow-up, to address addiction

By on May 1, 2019

The numerous situations handled by newly appointed Cocalico School Resource Officer (SRO) Eric Fisher made several municipal leaders say after the meeting, “He certainly is the right person for the job.”

Fisher’s report included instances of students seeking him out to discuss serious issues such as running away from home, pressure to try drugs at parties, neglectful home situations, volatile emotional situations/arguments, and abusers of drugs and alcohol.

Intervention from the SRO, along with other appropriate school staff, such as the guidance counselor and student assistance team, has resulted in the possible run-away student staying in the home, fights being de-escalated before happening, and relevant drug information assisting in apprehension of dealers and help for drug users.

Fisher is highly visible at all times during the day. He’s in the cafeteria, and has visited numerous classrooms, plus all five school buildings in the district.

He explained the “walk-talk” strategy, where students walking with him tend to relax and share information more easily and comfortably than if he and the student were sitting face to face in an office.
Fisher does have an office in the high school, although he’s rarely in it. Students do stop by the office, and know that if he’s in the building, his office light will be on. Many times, he encounters students looking for him after they’ve stopped at his office.

After only four months on the job, Fisher has amazing rapport with students and faculty. He said he could have continued to share many other situations with the regional leaders.

Cocalico never had an SRO until January 2019. The position, discussed for many years, was made possible with a Safe Schools Grant and assistance from Cocalico School District, Denver and East Cocalico Township. Although invited to participate in funding the SRO position, Adamstown and West Cocalico declined at this time.

On Thursday, May 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cocalico High School, the public is invited to an Addiction Awareness Summit. Law enforcement officers, addiction specialists and educators will answer questions which are submitted in writing. Various service providers will also have information booths.
REAL Life Community Services will host a smaller follow-up, grass roots meeting to discuss how the community can best address the addiction issue on May 9 at the Courtyard Café, 349 Main Street, Denver.

Cocalico Superintendent Ella Musser, highlighted some of the many spring and end-of-the-year activities occurring, such as state testing, spring sports, drama/art/music events, the prom, and graduation.

Musser reported that the new fuel service area project is progressing on schedule. In May, due to construction, bus drivers will secure fuel at Four Seasons in an agreement reached with the district.
“It will be good practice for our drivers to begin using a fuel access card,” said Musser.

Adamstown Area Library Board of Trustees President, Marj Herb, commented on the library report distributed regarding circulation statistics, fundraising and pre-construction activities for the new library to be built at the former Adamstown V.F.W., 110 W. Main Street. This exciting, much needed facility will begin demolition work at the new site in September.

The next Cocalico Area Regional Leaders meeting will be July 23 at 7 p.m. at West Cocalico Township’s municipal building in Reinholds.
Alice Hummer is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review.

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