BEDFORD, N.Y. – More than 60 members of Bedford Central School District, including employees, parents and students, attended Wednesday night’s school board meeting, several of whom spoke on behalf of student assistance counselor Lauren Beeson, whose job is one of 30 that could be cut in the district’s 2013-14 budget.
Many students stood before the school board and said how much Beeson has changed their lives through the club she runs, Students Against Destructive Decisions.
“The club really unifies the school, and I think it’s really impacted our lives a lot,” Fox Lane senior Christina Ingraldi said.
“If Ms. Beeson goes, the whole SADD program goes —and we think the SADD program is one of the things that makes our school unique. Even though it exists in other schools, in the area and the country, I think the program in our school is one of the strongest, and we should really save it.”
Fox Lane student Oscar Flores explained the value of Beeson and her program, saying the help he received has changed his life. “By going to Ms. Beeson, I saw a ray of hope, a light in the darkness,” he said.
“With Ms. Beeson, I felt completely comfortable and I felt she was someone I could talk to. Alcohol almost destroyed my life, and it got to a point where I could not control it. But there was someone there willing to listen and help me.”
Fellow student Emily Anderson told the board, that upon hearing the news Beeson’s job could be cut, she “actually began to cry.”
Members of the Mount Kisco Prevention Council also sang her praises. Beeson is also chairwoman of the coalition’s Youth Committee.
“These are difficult times when underage substance abuse is high and marijuana use is increasing with its legalization. Lauren’s ability to attract students to participate in the SADD Club and school-related events is remarkable," said coalition member Fran Seeve.
Mount Kisco Police Officer Edwin Ramirez drove an hour from his home in Poughkeepsie to speak on Beeson’s value to the community.
“I do serve with on the Youth Committee with Lauren and recently we attended the SADD meeting at Fox Lane High School and it was extremely informative,” he said.
“Lauren Beeson’s participation and willingness to get us in with the students is paramount, and is something we’ve been able to use as a drug council to work with the police department.”
Although the latest version of the 2013-14 budget still cuts Beeson's position, district officials said nothing will be final until the school board approves the budget April 17.
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