Northport VPK-8 students in seventh and eighth grades were treated to a visit in the media center by community partners (Port Saint Lucie Police Department) recently for a program initiative called StopLifting. The program led by Stacy Paton, Crime Prevention Specialist for the PSLPD, and Officers Jack White and Rod Dobler updated students on the hazards of shoplifting. Students learned about the technical camera systems that are now in retail stores, and they also learned that 89% of students know someone who has recently shoplifted. Students learned that the excuses given for shoplifting range from boredom, anxiety, depression, excitement and most importantly, peer pressure. One in eleven people have stolen from a retail store at some point in their lives. Students also learned that if you shoplift when you are young, you are 46% more likely to commit more crime in the future. Not a very encouraging statistic for the children.

Ms. Paton and the officers also spent plenty of time discussing the consequences of shoplifting such as: arrest and transport to a juvenile facility, restitution beginning at $200, probation, trespass from the store, and labeling by family and friends. Students saw concrete examples of questions on college applications, military applications, job applications, and the reality of background checks. The children learned that once you have a record, that record is forever, especially for deep checks for the military, college, and certain jobs.

Northport is deeply indebted to our community partners, the Port Saint Lucie Police Department, who visit frequently and always have the best interest of the children at heart. We, as teachers, administrators, deans, and parents depend on that partnership because we care about our whole community. We realize that we are not a closed building, we need the assistance of all invested partners to help make our community healthy and to bring the very best education to our students. Pictured are Officer Dobler, Stacy Paton, and Officer White as well as Instructor Elissa Garcia and her seventh grade students.