departmentPaterson Public Schools

Department of Student Assistance

  • Welcome
  • Core Beliefs
  • Our Responsibilities
  • Student Referrals
  • Contact Us

“Working to Keep Paterson Students Safe & Drug-Free”

Student Assistance

Core Beliefs

The Paterson Public Schools’ Student Assistance Department believes in helping our students maximize potential by providing crisis and drug prevention, intervention, education, counseling, staff training, mental health and other treatment referrals. Through the provision of these services, we believe we can improve student wellness and academic achievement, thereby preparing all children for college and careers.


The philosophy of the Student Assistance Department is to educate the whole student emotionally, socially and academically.  We aim to customize our approach by valuing students as individuals and using proven research-based programs.


  • Alcohol Awareness Month
  • Children of Alcoholics Week
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Great American Smoke-Out
  • Kick Butts Day
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • National Inhalant and Poisons Prevention Week
  • National Suicide Awareness Week
  • No-Name Calling Week
  • Red Ribbon Week
  • School Violence Awareness Week (NJSA 18A: 36 – 51)
  • World AIDS Day


Paterson Public School District employs 11 Student Assistance Coordinators who provide expertise in the following areas regarding substance abuse and related issues:

  • Aftercare
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
  • Anger Management
  • Bias and Cultural Awareness
  • Bullying/Cyber Bullying
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Community Resources
  • Dating Violence/Relationship Issues
  • Depression/Mental Health Awareness
  • Divorce in the Family
  • Domestic Violence
  • Eating Disorders
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Gang & Violence Prevention
  • Gambling
  • Gender/Sexuality
  • Grief and Loss
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Inhalants and Poisons
  • Internet Safety
  • Juvenile Fire-Setting
  • Legal Implications of Substance Use and Abuse
  • Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse 
  • Runaway
  • Science and Treatment of Addictions
  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Injury
  • Suicide

Student Referrals/Student Drug Testing

A student may request services on his/her own or be referred by a teacher, any other staff member or by his/her parent. There is a referral form that can be obtained from the building Student Assistance Coordinator. Once a student is referred, a careful assessment of his/her needs is performed and recommendations made to the student and parent.

If a student is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol/drugs or is in possession of a substance believed to be a controlled dangerous substance, the student must have a medical examination/drug screening and breathalyzer test. Failure to comply with the policy, receiving a positive diagnosis, being in possession of a controlled dangerous substance/alcohol/paraphernalia/counterfeit controlled substance, failing to comply with the testing procedures or tampering with the specimen will be considered an automatic positive offense and require an immediate assessment/evaluation by a licensed clinician before the student returns to school N.J.S.A. 18A: 40A-12; N.J.A.C. 6A: 16-4.1(c)2. The licensed clinician will recommend a treatment plan for the student to follow and the parent to approve if required.

The referral process is not a disciplinary one but rather a means to identify at-risk students in order to provide them with the appropriate services.


All Paterson Public School Student Assistance Coordinators are well versed in federal confidentiality law (42 CFR-Part 2) and both they and the school respect a student’s and their families’ right to privacy at all times.

Contact Us

90 Delaware Ave.
Paterson, NJ 07503
(973) 321-0694
FAX (973) 321-0651
Kathy Lepore, Supervisor

The Student Assistance Department is a Student Support Service offered by the Paterson Public Schools, comprised of eleven (11) certified Student Assistance Coordinators who provide drug and alcohol education, as well as prevention and intervention strategies.

Contact Student Assistance Coordinators




Kelly Anderson

School 12, School 18, NRC

Darryl Black

GFA, Don Bosco, SAC, YES

Gina Johnson

School 3, School 8, School 20, Alexander Hamilton Academy

Erica LeFurge

Garrett Morgan, HARP, International, PANTHER

Leonard Miller

School 4, School 13, School 26

Laurel Olson

John F. KenneEducational Complex

Harold Persaud

School 2, School 21, School 24, School 27

Deborah Pohl

School 7, School 9, Hani Awadallah

Stephanie Roberts

Eastside Campus

Ani Silvani

School 216, MLK, RPHS

Bridgette Smith

School 6, School 10, School 25


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