The Dover-Eyota and St. Charles Schools have received a $1 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to jointly create a drug and alcohol prevention program.
The grant is for five years and will allow the two districts to hire two program coordinators and create a curriculum and for approximately 1,300 sixth through tenth graders.
Bruce Klaehn, superintendent of Dover-Eyota Schools, said the grant will help address student alcohol use, which he describes as widespread.
"You hardly read a newspaper article about an accident or a shooting or something that doesn't involve alcohol or drugs or something related to that," Klaehn said. "So I'm just interested in a better quality of life for our kids."
Klaehn said his district has had three serious car accidents involving underage drinking in the last couple years.
St. Charles Schools Superintendent Mark Roubenek said underage drinking is widespread among teens in his district too.
"Young people are faced with a lot of tough decisions, and having a grant opportunity like this gives us a chance to be proactive," Roubenek said. "We have challenges like everybody else. It's an opportunity for us to address those challenges."
Roubenek says Olmsted County ranks 6th highest in the state, in terms of student alcohol use.