A New Jersey school superintendent has a message he wants to send about educating local families on the U.S. opioid crisis — and he's doing it by withholding graduation tickets.
Old Bridge Township Public Schools Superintendent David Cittadino revealed Tuesday that if families want to attend the graduation of this year's eighth-graders, a family member will have to attend and sit through an opioid seminar.
What are the details?
Cittadino sent home a letter to the parents and guardians of this year's eighth-grade students, requiring the guardians to attend one of April's three dates for a one-hour seminar on opioid use and addiction.
"It helps them to find signs and signals that they may not have already known," he explained, according to WCBS-TV.
"A parent of one of our elementary students passed away to opioid addiction. Abuse. An overdose," Cittadino said. "At the end of the day a first-grade little girl is going to go home to a house that doesn’t have a mother. And you know I’m going to say 'What could we have done better?'"
According to WCBS, the superintendent has attended funeral services for at least a half-dozen former students who have passed away as a result of opioid use.
"When you see the parents, they’re at a loss," Cittadino explained. "You’re heartbroken. Many of them have tried everything."
According to Cittadino, this isn't the first time the area has hosted opioid seminars, but those held in the past were reportedly lacking in attendance.
"The more people we educate, the more impact it’s going to have," he explained. "It saves lives in our community."