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Student Assistance Program

Student Assistance program

"STAR" - "Students At Risk"

STAR identifies students whose behavior, attendance, and/or grades indicate that they have problems related to substance abuse, are depressed, or have other related concerns.  Additionally, STAR identifies at-risk students.  At-risk students are those who, at the moment, are not evidencing significant problems, but the whose probability of experiencing issues in the future is higher than the norm unless the course of their lives is changed.  STAR sponsors different types of groups in the areas of prevention, intervention, support, and aftercare, including Support Groups, Anger Management, Social Skills, Decision Making, and Drug & Alcohol Awareness.  Any student referred to STAR is assured of confidentiality as stipulated by law.  STAR is not a part of the disciplinary process.  Students may be referred to STAR by any staff member, parent/guardian, or other concerned people.  Students frequently self-refer.  You can get more information on STAR from a counselor or a STAR member.  Commonly asked questions are:

What is the BCTHS Assistance Program?  The Commonwealth of PA, Act 211, mandates a student assistance program in every school.

What is the overall goal of STAR?  STAR identifies students whose behavior, attendance, or grades indicate that they may have problems related to alcohol or other substance abuse, depression and/or other issues that negatively impact on receiving the best education possible.  STAR also identifies students who are at risk; that is, they are not evidencing significant problems at the moment, but the probability that they will unless some series of events changes the course of their lives, is higher than the norm.

Who are the Team members?  Team members are specially selected and trained volunteers who are in contact with many different parts of the school under being teachers, coaches, advisors, administrators, nurses, and guidance counselors.  They have a strong, positive image with the student body, faculty, and community.  The student is free to accept or reject the recommendations of the team.

How does the student assistance program work?  Any concerned individual (school staff, family members, students) may call, write, or stop to see a student’s guidance counselor or a member of the STAR.   Except for self-referrals, all referrals should be made in writing on a “Standard Referral Form” (available in every office).  If the facts presented by the counselor warrant additional action by STAR, more information is gathered.

And then what happens?  To assemble a complete profile of a referred student’s behaviors, information is solicited from a variety of sources.  Information collected includes grades, attendance, performance in class and co-curricular activities, health and counselor information, staff reports, discipline records, and parent/guardian input.  All information collected must be observable and verifiable.  STAR does not seek hearsay information. The visible data is compiled, providing a look at the student’s life in school, and if the information profile warrant, additional action is taken.

What action is that?  Usually, an intervention, either formal or informal, is scheduled.  During a response, the complete student profile is presented to the student and parents/guardians.  Since isolated pieces or behavior are usually seen as “growing pains” or are justified by saying “it only happened twice” or “it’s all a part of growing up,” the advantage of the profile is that it provides a look at the total behavioral picture of a student.  The goal of the intervention is to break down the denial that keeps a student from recognizing as harmful those behaviors that have such a negative impact on his/her life.  After the intervention, a series of recommendations will occur.  Usually, an assessment will be one of the proposals.

What is an assessment?  BCTHS contracts with the Bucks County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (BCCADD) to do in all evaluation for STAR.  The Council is not a treatment agency.  Its job is to focus on the student and family to determine the exact nature of the problem and then, if necessary, suggest treatment options.

If treatment of some kind is received, what happens after that?  STAR is committed to providing prevention, support, and aftercare services to any student who needs them.  STAR offers many groups, operated during the school day, to students whose academic performance is likely to improve if help and support are provided.  Students can arrange possible group membership through STAR or their guidance counselors.

Please contact Ms. Williams @ 215.949.1700 x 2486 or  if you require further information.


Initially, the mission of the SADD chapter was to help young people say "No" to drinking and driving. Today, the mission has expanded. Students have told us that positive peer pressure, role modeling, and environmental strategies can prevent other destructive decisions and set a healthier, safer course for their lives. And that is why SADD has become a peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide.  For further information about the SADD organization go to

Our Advisor for SADD is Mr. Quici.  He can be reached at 215.949.1700 x 2059 or

Outside Help

In partnership with the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention, Facebook announced a new service that harnesses the power of social networking and crisis support to help prevent suicides across the nation.  The new service enables Facebook users to report a suicidal comment they see posted by a friend on Facebook using a report link found on the site.

The person who posted the suicidal comment will then immediately receive an email from Facebook, encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.237.TALK (8255) or click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.

For a listing of agencies to call for immediate assistance, please click on the link below.

Related Files

Resources for Help 2020