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The Project Purple Initiative: Swiftwater, PA

Pocono Mountain West High School has a strict dress code in which students are required to wear the school colors: Navy blue, gray, white or black.

Recently, however, students arrived at school wearing the color Purple. But no one received detention.

In fact, the more students who wore Purple, the better.

First year West Principal Mark Wade and School Resource Officer Jason Wile were looking to put an end to the stigma and change the vibe at at Pocono Mountain West, a school that houses nearly 1900 students in an urban area roughly an hour outside of New York City and New Jersey.

“Sixty-five percent of the students’ parents commute into (NY) City. Kids tend to fend for themselves. We wanted to be proactive and help kids,” said Wile.

The THP Project Purple Initiative proved to be just what Wile was searching for.

The members of SADD (Student Against Drunk Driving) took the lead and kicked off the THP Project Purple Initiative by selling purple t-shirts and holding a Purple Out day at the school.

“The kids were really digging it,” said Wile. “Even the kids that didn’t buy a shirt wore something purple to school during the Purple Out day. It was great to see the students get excited about the program.”

The students have even started incorporating stats highlighting the dangers of drug and alcohol in the Friday morning announcements piped throughout the school.

In addition to launching the THP Project Purple Initiative, the school added West is Best a program in which students are recognized for various accomplishments. Since West is Best has been added, the incident rate at the school has been cut it in half.

“We are promoting a drug free and violence free environment,” said Wile. “It’s about teaching students to make the right choices and that it’s okay to be themselves.”

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