‘High Disguise’ coming to Knox Jr. High

Officials of the Greater Johnstown School District comb through the mock "High Disguise" bedroom looking for drugs and paraphernalia during the Board of Education meeting Thursday night at Knox Junior High School. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Greater Johnstown School District officials on Thursday got a chance to find concealed drugs and related paraphernalia in a mock teenage bedroom, but did not even come close to unearthing it all.

The exercise was part of an upcoming presentation called “High Disguise” featuring a mock teen’s bedroom coming to a city school next week, the board heard Thursday night at Knox Junior High School.

HFM Prevention Council prevention educators Paul Meher and Alicia King gave a presentation on the program.

“High Disguise” will be presented by the council starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Knox Junior High School. The presentation is geared towards adolescents, parents and caring adults in the community. It gives participants the opportunity to explore a mock teen bedroom in search of hidden drugs and paraphernalia, while learning about concealment methods and drug culture references.

“It’s a learning experience offered to us,” said Superintendent Patricia Kilburn.

The public will be able to participate in the program at the Knox small cafeteria, 400 S. Perry St., with a walk-through from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday. This will be followed by an in-depth discussion about the room and current trends, with an opportunity for questions and answers, at an HFM Prevention Council presentation from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the large cafeteria.

Knox Principal Robert Kraemer told the board that Knox is happy to be associated with the council’s educational programs.

“They work very close with our students at the school,” he said.

Meher and King took district officials and board members through two separate sessions to the mock bedroom set up at Knox to find the concealed items.

District officials said they found less than 10 items, but Meher said there were actually 63 items in the room.

“This room is exaggerated,” Meher said.

Some of the items include vape items, “roach” clips, oregano resembling marijuana, flasks, various makeshift pipes, air fresheners, sleeping pills and prescription-strength cough medicine. King and Meher ended their presentation with slides showing various items, as well as local and Capital District stores where many drug-related paraphernalia can be purchased. Those items include bongs and T-shirts with drug references.

The HFM Prevention Council, based at 86 Briggs St., is a non-profit agency funded by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Its mission is to prevent, through education, the abuse of and addiction to alcohol, other drugs and gambling in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties. It was formed in 1987 by concerned citizens from all three counties.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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