Seeing signs

Learning to spot drug, child abuse and about prevention in daylong program

November 21, 2013

The eight hours of seminars, which also provided child safety education and information about violence prevention and intervention, are required of future teachers, who are considered mandated reporters in New York State, according to Dr. Avi Brezak, chair of education and special education for all of Touro College’s undergraduate schools.

“These were really valuable,” said Brezak of the program’s offerings. “The students now know much more about drug abuse and child abuse and how to recognized it. The same with school violence and how to prevent it, and how to keep young children safe.”

There were two morning sessions and another two in the afternoon at the Avenue J campus in Flatbush. Dr. Steven Luel presented in the morning, focusing on substance abuse in one session, and child abuse and maltreatment in the other. Prof. David Smith conducted the afternoon seminars on child safety education and school violence prevention and intervention.

Most of the graduates will go on to teach in the New York City public schools, Brezak said, where they may eventually face some of the issues addressed during the seminars. LAS offers them once every semester, and they are open not only to Touro education majors, who must take all four two-hours seminars. LAS offers these seminoars every semester, and they are open not only to Touro education majors, who must take all four two-hour seminsar, but also to speech majors. The program is also open to students from other institutions, who pay a fee to participate, according to Brezak. In all  nearly 90 attended this year's program, which has attracted as many as 200 during previous semesters, Brezak said.

“I’ve had students return and tell me how important the information is,” said Brezak. “Not just for their professional work, but for life. Child safety tackles such topics as kidnapping and arson. These are things to tell your own children to keep them safe.”

Gila Sulimanzada is working on her associate's degree at LAS and will then transfer to the bachelor’s degree program. She would like to work one-on-one as an aid to students. The seminars were well done and “pretty informative, especially about bullying,” she said.

Chaya Levilev who attended the seminars last year agreed that the program was a valuable one. “It’s always important to hear these kind of things,” said Levilev, who graduates in January with a bachelor’s degree in education. “I had never really had a class on drugs before.”