‘Unique You’ tackles tough questions at Harris


By Jason Hawk - [email protected]



Hands go up for police officer Mike Taliano as he challenges Amherst fourth-graders to think through difficult situations and come up with smart solutions.


Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

Someone copied your spelling test. Your best friend finds a carton of cigarettes. A cashier gives you too much change.

What should you do?

If you need help solving these dilemmas, maybe ask a Harris Elementary School fourth-grader for help.

With guidance from Amherst police officer Mike Taliano, they’ve been talking for weeks about their feelings, choosing friends who help instead of hurting you, and making the right decisions.

It’s a program called Unique You and it provides a chance to talk to kids about handling dicey situations from dealing with gossip to avoiding alcohol.

There are a few key questions to ask yourself when posed with a dilemma: Am I going to hurt someone? Am I going to hurt myself? Am I going to destroy something? Am I going to get in trouble?

Not all are hypothetical situations.

Before Taliano visited classes Friday, a syringe and spoon — hallmark instruments of heroin use — were found on the Nord Middle School playground. Coming across discarded needles in public is actually a lot more common than you might think, the patrolman said.

He made the playground discovery a teachable moment, asking kids: If you find a needle, what should you do?

His advice to kids was to go to an adult for help.

“The reason we’re here is to make good decisions to keep yourselves safe and your friends safe,” Taliano said.

Police plan to patrol the area around Nord more often and reviewed security cameras to suss out who may have left the syringe.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

Hands go up for police officer Mike Taliano as he challenges Amherst fourth-graders to think through difficult situations and come up with smart solutions.
http://theamherstnewstimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_DSC_7175.jpgHands go up for police officer Mike Taliano as he challenges Amherst fourth-graders to think through difficult situations and come up with smart solutions.

Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times

By Jason Hawk

[email protected]

Amherst News Times
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