Drug-Free Youth program gets its reboot

In 2018, Riverview introduced a new program for students to stay on the right track. It’s known as D-FY and is a movement where peers share a commitment to a drug-free lifestyle. It is available for students from sixth to twelfth grades.

In order for them to become a member, they are required to go through a confidential drug screening. Once their screening has been approved and the application has been validated, the members agree to be given random screenings throughout the year. In addition, they benefit by getting discounts from certain participating stores and restaurants with their issued member ID.

However, when a family member recently went to the Sarasota County School Board to address an issue with the program, the club was put on hold. Though they wanted their child to join, they weren’t in favor of the drug screening that was required to join. New membership applications now require a parent signature so that everyone understands the membership criteria.

In a recent meeting held in the Landings Plaza with the D-FY coordinator and members of the school board, people asked questions about the program and what their intentions were for students. In hopes of keeping D-FY up and running, the coordinators proposed a new plan.

They suggested a new part of the application process where students are given a sheet of paper that is a “memo of understanding” for their parents to sign. It tells what the purpose of the program is, what their message is, and what their direct intentions are so that parents are more knowledgeable on how D-FY operates. As of Jan. 7, the D-FY coordinator was able to come to an agreement with the school board to approve the new application process. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, the program became open to new applicants for registration.

Marquee Teal, who is in charge of D-FY on Riverview’s campus is ready to get the club up and running once more.

“Now that it’s been successful in getting approved, I’ve been encouraging as many as possible to join, and I’m excited to see it continue,” he said.

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