July 22, 2024

School Committee Debates Student Drug Policy

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The Seekonk School Committee voted on the second reading of a student drug use policy at Monday’s meeting. The policy, called Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use by Students Prohibited, was approved by a 4 to 1 vote.

Chairperson Meaghan Mahoney, Alisha MacManus, Lisa Rizzo, and Emily Field were in favor, with Kyle Juckett in opposition.

Part of the policy suggests administrators should contact the police if drug sales are suspected on school property.

“Seekonk High School has had a small number of incidents each school year where students have possessed or been under the influence of tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana,” Superintendent Rebecca Kidwell said Wednesday.  “The percentage of students involved in these incidents is under five percent for each of the last three years.  These incidents are the exception, not the norm. The Committee's interest in this policy was simply to update compliance with current Massachusetts laws and existing student handbooks.”  

 “We can set bars for expectations,” Juckett said. “Any dangerous weapon found on school property is mandatory reporting. It’s actually a criminal offense if you don’t report it. I think we can set a bar so police are notified and they can conduct an investigation if they think drug sales are occurring. I would hate for something to fall by the wayside, not be properly investigated by the police.”

Mahoney noted the school department’s legal counsel advised that administrators can use “discretion” when deciding whether or not a situation should be referred to law enforcement.

“There may be circumstances which would cause them to not feel it’s  appropriate to report it,” Mahoney said.

“As a district, we encourage families and the community to prevent students' access to alcohol, vapes, and vape products,” Kidwell added. “Our primary goal is to keep students safe and healthy, so they can come to school and stay in school as learners.  We ask all community members to be our partners in this effort.”

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