Students, parents learn drug dangers at Galvez Middle

Michael Tortorich
Ascension Parish School Board attorney Jeff Diez, left, speaks during a community outreach program held at Galvez Middle School Tuesday night. Several law enforcement authorities spoke to students and their parents about the dangers of prescription drugs.

GALVEZ – Be vigilant.

Those direct words were offered by a host of law enforcement officials who spoke during a community outreach program Tuesday night in the Galvez Middle School gym.

A crowd of parents, students and teachers learned of the consequences of drugs, including prescription medication abuse.

They were warned that mixing drugs can be dangerous and even deadly, and that parents should administer medication instead of giving an entire bottle to children.

The group also learned about the Crime Stoppers program, which encompasses the greater Baton Rouge area, including Ascension Parish. A total of nine parishes are covered.

The program has worked with the Ascension Parish School Board and the schools’ administrators in an effort to make schools safer. Students are encouraged to go to counselors, principals and teachers when they become aware of crimes on campus.

There are three ways to contact Crime Stoppers, and each method allows the tipster to remain anonymous.

The traditional way is to call 225-344-STOP. Crime Stoppers does not use caller ID, and they won’t ask for a name. The program is strictly to gain information on crimes and potential crimes.

Typically Crime Stoppers will alert law enforcement or the school after a tip is given.

Tipsters are identified only by a code number. With that number, that individual can claim a cash reward.

The tipster remains anonymous by going to a designated bank drive-through window. Crime Stoppers goes to the bank prior to arrival and drops off an envelope with the code and cash reward.

Crime Stoppers pays cash rewards up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of anyone responsible for felony crimes, recovery of stolen property or illegal narcotics.

The only way anyone can find out about the transaction is if the person receiving the reward tells someone.

Another way to provide a tip to Crime Stoppers is through the Web site

Once on the site, a tipster can click on an icon and fill in information about a possible crime. A code is given from there, and the system masks any identifying information.

A third method to provide information is through text messaging. To do so, text CS225 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).

Crime Stoppers began in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1976. There are currently about 1,200 Crime Stoppers programs around the world.

Jeff Diez, who has worked as School Board attorney for 22 years, said students have to pay the consequences when they violate the rules.

As a parent, he said he can imagine what it would be like if his children were accused of an offense.

He said the student handbook has a total of 58 offenses, all of which are there for a reason.

Diez recalled a recent case where two students at different schools arranged to exchange a pill by placing it on a back seat of a bus.

“You do that, and you’ll meet me, and I care not to meet you under those circumstances,” Diez said.

The most difficult part of his job is having to expell a student, he said.

Diez compared it to how speed limit signs are a frequent reminder.

“Be your child’s speed limit sign, he said. “ Be their stop sign, their caution sign.”