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Taking Pathway to School

Despite its founder's checkered history, Pathway has been allowed in local high schools

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Until a recent state investigation, started after questions from the Weekly and a Phoenix TV news report, Pathway was allowed to conduct school-wide presentations at Amphi School District's high schools. Large portions of the student body would attend the presentations, conducted by Pathway counselors, Amphi High School students said. From there, Pathway's services would be made available to students through guidance counselors.

If students inquired about the program, they would be invited to attend night meetings where, according to former counselors, Pathway employees would promote the program through a cool atmosphere filled with fun and socializing with peers.

But Amphi officials have now suspended Pathway's services, at least until the government investigations are complete.

Canyon del Oro High School Principal Michael Gemmas said his school was the first to pull away from Pathway's services after seeing the video on the ABC 15 Web site.

"With the founder's comments of racism and what was brought up in that report, we felt it was best to wait to see what the state investigation found," Gemmas said.

Tucson Unified School District cancelled Pathway's services a few years ago after they started their own program that works more closely with guidance counselors.

Pathway would hold meetings during TUSD school hours in classrooms where contact information from students was gathered. Students were later called to see if they wanted to hang out with Pathway peers for one night, former counselors and clients said.

According to former counselor Beau Hintz, Pathway counselors would do things like smoke in the classroom and try to create a better-than-you presence that had many students hooked on the idea of joining.

Neither school district heard any complaints from students or parents about Pathway, officials said.

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