From school bus to mov­ing class­room

Polk School District hands over bus to Polk Against Drugs com­mit­tee

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­

Polk School District fulfilled their pledge to help out Polk Against Drugs in an ef­fort to help with education ef­forts to keep kids away from dan­ger­ous sub­stances.

Dur­ing a brief gath­er­ing in re­cent weeks, of­fi­cials from sev­eral agen­cies, Polk Against Drugs and ed­u­ca­tors came to­gether to turn over the bus to Polk Against Drug’s com­mit­tee from the Drug Prevention and Education com­mit­tee.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion sought the bus out to turn into a mo­bile class­room to of­fer Polk County’s youth a look at how wrong choices can lead them to ruin.

“Our plan is to fix up the bus and then travel to our schools,” Karen Nis­sen, a mem­ber of the Drug Prevention and Education com­mit­tee, said. “For now, we’re look­ing at the mid­dle schools and maybe in the fu­ture go­ing to the high schools.”

Polk School District voted ear­lier in Au­gust to turn over one of two buses that were left of a num­ber cy­cled out of the fleet and sold as sur­plus

items. The bus for now will

They look to model changes to the bus af­ter an al­ready ex­ist­ing pro­gram, but keep it nar­rowly fo­cused to­ward Polk Against Drug’s main mis­sion of ending the sale and use of il­le­gal sub­stances through­out the com­mu­nity.

“We’re go­ing to pat­tern it some­what af­ter the Choice Bus,” Nis­sen said. “It talks about mak­ing good choices, not nec­es­sar­ily about drugs and al­co­hol. Ours is go­ing to sim­ply be about drug education.”

Nis­sen said they’ll pat­tern Polk Against Drug’s education pro­gram around a pre­sen­ta­tion, a video, ques­tion and answer and even have a mock jail cell to give stu­dents an idea of what it’s like to be be­hind bars.

The Choice Bus — de­vel­oped and driven around to schools by the Mat­tie C. Ste­wart Foun­da­tion — has been to Polk County be­fore and is mak­ing a re­turn trip here in the days ahead.

“We’re go­ing to ob­serve their bus while they are here,” Nis­sen said.

Nis­sen said their or­ga­ni­za­tion is go­ing to need help if they are to get their ver­sion of The Choice Bus up and run­ning. Among the ar­eas that they’ll need as­sis­tance is in re­mod­el­ing of the bus’s in­te­rior for their pur­poses, de­vel­op­ment of education ma­te­ri­als like a video to present to youth.

She added that it is some ways off be­fore they get to the con­ver­sion stage as ini­tial or­ga­niz­ing ef­forts are still un­der­way, but vol­un­teer help will be needed to con­vert the bus.

If any­one wants to help in the plan­ning and or­ga­ni­za­tion phase, they can con­tact Nis­sen for more in­for­ma­tion at knis­[email protected]

“We’re a rel­a­tively small com­mit­tee at the mo­ment, and if any­one wants to help they can con­tact us and we’ll bring them on as a mem­ber,” Nis­sen said.

kevin myrick

Of­fi­cials from Polk Against Drugs and the Polk School District gath­ered at the cen­tral of­fice in Cedar­town to make a bus doan­tion of­fi­cial. It is slated to be con­verted as a mo­bile class­room teach­ing youth about the dan­gers of drugs and alo­chol.

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