A program called "Shield 7", initiated by Schuylkill County District Attorney James P. Goodman with assistance of local law enforcement officers, county sheriff department and probation officers from the juvenile probation department, is aimed at students in the seventh grade level in school districts in the county. The program addresses bullying, alcohol and drug use and proper use of cell phones, especially pertaining to 'sexting."
Goodman emphasized, "These are very important issues and law enforcement officers visit schools to educate our youth about the dangers that face them in the future if they make poor choices in any of the named issues."
The most recent issue which has cropped up, "bath salts' has the district attorney moving quickly to stop the sale of this product in retail stores in the county. He has issued a public request for the retailers to remove bath salts from their shelves and if they do not do it voluntarily then he plans to go to court to uptain an injunction which could mean fines and costs to those who fail to comply.
A strong emphasis is also made concerning the potential dangers of the internet and "sexting" to educate the students that cell phones and computers are not toys and that they are using them the way they are intended to be used.
According to Goodman the program does not only hit home on real life issues but also makes the events fun and exciting to students.
Students participate in a number of challenging games, such as "Slime Time." This is a contest where many cups are filled with pudding which are hurriedly checked by contestants who are racing each other to find gummy worms hidden inside some of the cups. Also there is a contest involving basketball shots, football throws, soccer, street hockey, dribbling through a course, jumping rope, hackey sack kicks and a race around the gym.
This marks the third year of the program and Shields 7 team has completed the program in seven school districts in the county and has four more districts to go. The program is funded by the Schuylkill County District Attorney's Forfeiture Account, which comes from arrests and confiscated money from drug raids.