Schools Adopt Stiffer Drug, Alcohol Policy

Article excerpt

The Hancock School Board has tightened its drug- and alcohol-abuse policy to demand swifter intervention and evaluation of students and stiffer penalties.

Board member Paul Brother said, "We want to project an image of zero tolerance when it comes to drugs or gangs or guns in school."

"The old policy was more lenient," said Superintendent Al Bourisaw. "We still focus on prevention and intervention as the first step, but now it's more punitive if the youngster doesn't cooperate."

Under the new plan, any student who uses or possesses drugs or alcohol must be evaluated by a professional counselor within 10 days.

If the substance abuse is diagnosed as experimental, the student must sign a contract with school officials and attend group or individual counseling. If the diagnosis is more severe, the School Board requires that the family get professional treatment for the child.

Any student who fails to abide by the school's recommendations or participate in the treatment program faces long-term suspension or expulsion.

"We certainly want to help the student," Brother said. "But once it has become apparent this is an ongoing problem and we can't do anything about it, the best thing we can do is get (the student) out so they can't hurt anyone else. …


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