BLOSSBURG – During December’s final Southern Tioga School District board of education meeting, vice president Sean Bartlett said he wanted to know more about a new student club.

At Monday’s first board meeting of 2022, teacher Amanda Capone, the advisor for the new club “Aevidum,” which addresses making school a healthy environment for all students, said the original club was started in a school in Lancaster by students who lost a friend to suicide.

“It has grown and continues to grow. It starts off with 10 or more trained in the concept of Aevidum, which means ‘I’ve got your back’ in Latin, to be a welcoming force, and help students feel included and welcome. Their job is not to treat, but to seek out resources to make sure students have the support they need,” she said.

Capone’s presentation was in response to concerns raised by Bartlett about the club and the role it would perform in the lives of students.

“They are not counselors; we do not ask them to be counselors. It is not their job to take on counseling or mental health of their peers. It is their hope they don’t remain silent if they know someone is thinking about [harming themselves],” she said. “The club is trying to establish a positive healthy environment, what to do if you see a friend or classmate that has an issue, to get them the help and support they need.”

In related business, the board also heard from student services director Krista Peterson about the district’s mental health team update.

“There have been 57 referrals, with 17 on a wait list that is a minimum of three months long, and closer to six months,” Peterson said.

“The partial program at (W.L.) Miller (Elementary) is full. We are having a difficult time getting help for our students that need mental health support,” she said.

Peterson also oversees the district’s special education curriculum, and announced its updated plan was posted on Friday for a 28-day public review and comment period.

“We invite comments or questions,” she said.

Peterson reported on another student group, “Spirit council” that continues to meet, she said.

“Two (students from each school) will sit on the building-wide student leadership team with (North Penn-Mansfield High School principal) Mr. David, to help him evaluate digital health issues,” Peterson said.

“They have been having conversations about student concerns such as harassment, and also providing information on how that content will be most accessible to their fellow students. Students were interested in reinstating a hall pass so Mr. David invited them to have input on that from a student perspective,” she added.

The board will see another student club based on creating a more positive space for students at Liberty Elementary School called the School Wide Positive Behavior club.

The club is open to all students and its objective is to “have the atmosphere among kids and adults be more positive.”

The club members will participate in fund raising activities such as a door decorating contest with penny votes, a clothing sale and grant application to the Jones Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase rewards for assemblies, tickets and other gifts such as classroom rewards for students.

The board’s next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 18, in the Blossburg Elementary School auditorium.

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