Five School Districts Receiving Grants to Encourage Tobacco-Free Education, Programs

January 14, 2009

SOUTH CAROLINA – January 13, 2009 – Five school districts have been awarded grants to implement tobacco-free policies and programs as a joint project of the South Carolina School Boards Association and the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control.

The project gives $1,500 “Blazin’ the Way” grants that encourage school districts to adopt comprehensive anti-tobacco activities and education efforts.  Award-winning district initiatives include:

• Dorchester Two – partnered with DHEC, the Dorchester Alcohol and Drug Commission and the Department of Education to provide the LifeSkills program incorporating tobacco-use prevention education in required health classes for students in grades 6-9. The district is using its grant to purchase student workbooks. Under the plan, 75% of the students eventually will be Life Skills for two of their four years in these grades.

• Charleston County – is purchasing a digital message sign to scroll attention getting messages as well as publicizing the 1-800 QUIT Now resource line. A display, Life or Death Lungs, will accompany the sign to give viewers a shocking, graphic view of the carnage smoking causes. The display will rotate among middle and high schools to promote awareness among students and staff. Students can visit their school clinic for additional information and receive a free gift that promotes smoking cessation.  A Freedom from Smoking class taught by a registered nurse will be offered to district staff to support smoking cessation efforts.

• Lexington One – is supporting long-standing efforts to curb tobacco use by incorporating new related health standards in the curriculum, developing a plan for referring students and staff to cessation programs and purchasing additional signage.

• Richland Two – the district’s “Blazin’ Team tobacco control project focuses on fifth-grade students at Condor Elementary School and will eventually serve as a model for other district schools. Students, parents and community members will be surveyed to measure their knowledge of the dangers associated with smoking. The school resource officer will implement the DARE program in all classrooms. Teachers have planned classroom activities for mathematics, hands-on science, social studies and English language arts in conjunction with The Great American Smokeout event.

• Williston 29 – will implement a schoolwide Kick Butts Carnival with anti-smoking stations to educate students; letters to businesses and a 30 Seconds of Fame public service announcements contest; a community pledge wall to highlight student successes and involve the community; distribution of Quit Kits; and purchase of additional signage for schools.