Bethlehem Central School District Superintendent Michael Tebbano provided the Board of Education with an update regarding recent drug incidents at the high school during a Dec. 7 meeting.
The district has received plenty of attention in recent weeks following the arrests of five students accused of selling and possessing methadone and marijuana.
Tebbano and high school principal Charles Abba have issued comments in letters and blog posts. The outgoing superintendent addressed those comments during the meeting, which was held at the high school’s Library Media Center.
“Because there was a blog by the superintendent last week, because there was a letter from the principal to the parents, doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re in a state of crisis,” said Tebbano. “In fact, I would contend that what’s occurring in Bethlehem is probably no different than what’s happening in any other community, any other school, any other district throughout the country.”
Tebbano said there have been incidents with students “who have taken some liberties.”
“I guess the reason why Mr. Abba and I decided to contact the community through various venues to get information out is because one serious situation can be fatal,” said Tebbano.
The superintendent, who will retire at the end of the year, said the district is stressing enforcement and education. Forums have been held with students to address their concerns about what’s happened at the high school.
The district is getting outside help, as well. Tebbano said Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ office has offered resources to teach students about the negative effects of drug abuse.
“We have prosecutors from the DA’s office coming to talk to the students about what the drug penalties are really all about,” said Tebbano. He added that the district is also working with State Police, Bethlehem police and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.