F7 - Student Substance Abuse

Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Policy

SECTION:     STUDENTS                                                                                  CODE F7 


It is the policy of the school boards of the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union (District) that no student shall knowingly possess, use, sell, give or otherwise transmit, or be under the influence of any illegal drug, regulated substance, or alcohol on any school property (including school bus transportation) or at any school sponsored activity away from or within the school. It is further the policy of the District to make appropriate referrals in cases of substance abuse.

The District is concerned with the health and well-being of all students and this policy takes into consideration the individual needs of students with alcohol and substance abuse problems as well as the right of all students to receive an appropriate education in an alcohol and drug free environment. The District encourages educational programs that provide every student with an understanding of the physical, psychological, social and legal dangers associated with drug abuse.

Substance abuse and dependency are treatable health problems that are primarily the responsibility of the home and the community. The school shares this responsibility in the areas of prevention (education) and intervention (identification and referral).

Community and schools share in this responsibility because substance abuse problems often interfere with behavior, learning, and the fullest possible development of each student.

Substance abuse is the ingestion of a substance in such a way that it interferes with a person’s ability to perform physically, intellectually, emotionally, or socially.

Drug means any narcotic drug, hallucinogenic drug, amphetamine, barbiturate, marijuana or any other controlled substance as defined by state or federal regulation or statute.

  1. Educational Program. The Principal shall work with appropriate staff members to develop and conduct an alcohol and drug abuse educational program on a sequential basis from early childhood through grade 12 as required by Vermont law. The program shall be consistent with the Vermont Alcohol and Drug Education Curriculum Plan. If the school district is the recipient of Federal Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act funds, the Act will be considered in the development of the alcohol and drug abuse educational program.
  2. Cooperative Agreements. In dealing with substance abuse cases, every effort will be made to promote responsible decision-making by the student involved and other students who are aware of another student’s use or abuse. The focus will be to encourage appropriate medical and/or psychological intervention by trained professionals. The Principal shall annually designate a member of the substance abuse team to be responsible for providing information to students and parents or guardians about outside agencies that provide substance abuse prevention services and to encourage the use of their services and programs when appropriate.

The Addison Northwest Supervisory Union, under a cooperative agreement with Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) has established a Student Assistance Program. Students, under the age of eighteen, who have been referred or who refer themselves to the Student Assistance Program counselor may be seen individually by the counselor for purposes of substance abuse screening and consultation. It will be the goal of the Student Assistance Program to encourage the student to involve his/her parents or guardians at the earliest point in time.

3.  Referral and Consent. Parental consent is not required for student participation in group programs conducted within the schools that are educational in nature and designed to impart information and/or assist students in improving their sense of self-esteem. Such groups may be conducted only by trained professionals contracted by the schools to perform such service or by trained school staff who have been approved by the school administration to conduct such groups.

Additionally, parental consent is not required for referral substance abuse treatment programwhen a student who is 12 or over is suspected of substance dependency verified to have that dependency by a licensed physician and gives his/her own consent for treatment.

  1. Substance Abuse Team. In each school the Principal shall form a Substance Abuse Team which shall screen students who refer themselves and students who are referred by staff for suspected drug and/or alcohol use and/or abuse problems. In each case, the team will determine the need for further screening, education, counseling or referral for treatment. In addition, the Principal shall establish procedures to be followed by the team for administering emergency first aid related to alcohol and drug abuse.
  1. Staff Training. The Principal will work with appropriate staff to provide training necessary to ensure such that teachers and health and guidance personnel are prepared to competently teach or provide other services required in the school’s alcohol and drug abuse prevention education program. The training will include a component explaining procedures that require immediate notification to the school administration by school staff of any violation of law, including the illegal possession and/or distribution of drugs or alcohol.
  1. Community Involvement. The Principal will work with school staff and community members to design and implement a program to inform the community about substance abuse issues and the programs and supports provided by the school to (a) educate students about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse; and (b) to assist students who are abusing alcohol or drugs.
  1. Annual Report. In a standard format provided by the Department of Education, the principal or his/her designee will submit an annual report to the Commissioner of Education describing substance abuse education programs and their effectiveness.
  1. Notification. The Principal shall ensure that parents and students are given a copy of the standards of conduct and disciplinary sanctions contained in the procedures related to this policy and are notified that compliance with the standards of conduct is mandatory. Notice to students will, at a minimum, be provided through the inclusion of these standards and sanctions in the student handbook distributed to all students at the beginning of each school year or when a student enrolls in the school.

Date Revised/Adopted:  November, 2006; November, 2011 (R) 

Legal Reference(s): 

20 U.S.C. §§1701 et seq. (Safe & Drug-Free Schools & Communities Act of 1994) 

16 V.S.A. §909 (Education curriculum) 

16 V.S.A. §1045 (Driver Training Course) 

16 V.S.A. §1165 (Alcohol and drug abuse) 

18 V.S.A. §4226 (Drugs: minors, treatment, consent) 

Vt. State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices §§4200 -4215) 

Cross Reference:  

Student Conduct and Discipline (F1) 

Search and Seizure (F3) 

Interrogations or Searches of Students by Law Enforcement 

Officers or Other Non-School Personnel (F5) 

Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Policy

SECTION:     STUDENTS                                                                           CODE F7-R


Students who are experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs are in need of assistance. The type of assistance needed may vary; however, the school system is committed to providing the most appropriate response to each individual. The actions set forth below will be considered routine procedures. In situations where extreme violations occur, the specific action may be waived by the administrator. Any action taken by waiver of these procedures will be explained in a written report to the Superintendent. All disciplinary measures taken in accordance with this policy will comply with due process requirements and, where appropriate, will be consistent with the rights of students with disabilities as reflected in the school's discipline policy.

Students under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

  1. First Offense
  1. A student will be treated as an ill student and will be sent home by an administrator after the parents have been notified. In crisis situations the matter will be handled as a medical emergency and accordingly the school officials will involve ambulance and police assistance as may be appropriate.
  2. Upon the return to school the following day, the student will be dealt with in accordance with the school's discipline program, if applicable.
  3. Police shall be notified when drugs are involved. Reporting of 1st offense alcohol problems to the police is within the discretion of the administrator. 
  4. The student will be referred to the school's Substance Abuse Team.

           2.  Second Offense
           a.  Steps (a, b and d) of the 1st offense procedures.

           b.  Police shall be notified regardless of whether the offense is drug or alcohol related.

           c.  The student will undergo an alcohol/drug assessment within 10 days of the incident 

                and will participate in a treatment program if warranted by the assessment.

           d.  Failure to comply with (c) above will result in the student being suspended from 

                school for ten (10) days. 

           3.  Third Offense

        1.  Step (a) of the 1st offense procdures.
        2. Police shall be notified.
        3. The student (will) be suspended from school for ten (10) days and may be recommended to the Board for long-term suspension or expulsion.

        Students in possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia, and/or alcohol 

        When students are found in possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia, and/or alcohol, the substance(s) will be confiscated. Procedures for handling such incidents will be identical to those used when a student is found to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, except for Step 1a.

        Students selling or furnishing alcohol and/or drugs 

        1. First offense
        1. The student will be suspended from school for ten (10) days after the parents have been notified.
        2. Police shall be notified.
        3. The student will be referred to the school's Substance Abuse Team.
        1. Second offense
        1.  Steps (a) and (b) for 1st offense will be followed.
        2. The student may be recommended to the Board for long-term suspension or expulsion.

        Suspected Substance Abuse 

        When a staff member has reason to believe that a student might be having a problem related to substance abuse, the staff member shall make a referral to the Substance Abuse Team.

        Co-Curricular Activities 

        Students who violate the School District's policy on alcohol and drugs while they are members of a school team, are subject to additional disciplinary actions as are defined in the school's training rules. Any student who commits a second offense, in the same year, of the District's policy may not represent the school and consequently the student will immediately be dismissed from all co-curricular activities (athletic and non-athletic) for the remainder of the school year.