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arlington parents want m for afterschool programs after suspected fatal fentanyl overdoses
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Arlington parents want $2M for afterschool programs after suspected fatal fentanyl overdoses

Parents and community groups in Arlington, Virginia, want more money for afterschool programs after two students died from suspected fentanyl overdoses. More than 200 people attended a meeting to support asking the county to include $2 million in its upcoming budget for the programs. “I hope to God they are listening and this is approved, and a lot of good will come of this,” Luz Rodriguez told Telemundo 44. She lost her 16-year-old son last year to a suspected fentanyl overdose. The request from three community groups follows listening sessions with parents. “They want their kids to be in programs and not in the streets or being alone at home,” said Janeth Valenzuela of Arlington Schools Hispanic Parents Association. They also had listening sessions with students. “They were saying from the time they get out after school, then until six or seven o’clock, they really are desiring something productive to do,” said Alice Tewell of VOICE. “They wanted to learn new skills.” Tewell, a pastor and PTA president, and others making the funding pitch say the afterschool programs would need to be high quality with dedicated staff. “Where adults know your name and your, and it’s culturally appropriate, trauma informed and fun,” she said. Under the proposal, the afterschool programs would start next year at middle and high schools. Initially, 200 students would be served. Supporters of the plan believe $2 million is worth paying despite a tight budget year ahead. “We thought also, what is a child’s life worth?” Tewell said. “In a budget that’s over $1. 5 billion for Arlington, surely 200 children are worth more than $2 million.” “It’s investment of life, investment of the future of our children,” Valenzuela said. Arlington’s county manager will present his proposed budget later this month.

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