Substance Abuse Policy
The Everett Public Schools is committed to promoting an atmosphere of safety, respect, and caring for all students, staff members, and visitors to the school that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each school principal or person who holds a comparable position shall be responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Substance Use and Prevention Policy at his or her school. An Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention was signed into law on March 14, 2016, as Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2016.
This Policy includes information about the following areas as prescribed under Chapter 52:
• Clearly Defined Goals
• Involvement of all stakeholders
• Curriculum Implementation
• Enforcement Provisions
• Treatment Opportunities
• Timetable for periodic review
The Everett Public Schools recognizes its responsibility in establishing and implementing goals regarding use and prevention of substance abuse. The goals are in observance of the six elements of a Safe and Supportive Schools Framework in the following areas:
District leadership is essential in developing and implementing effective substance use prevention and abuse education policies in order to maintain a safe and supportive learning environment. In adopting or updating policies, the school committee will work in conjunction with district and school leaders in developing clearly defined goals to prevent and address substance use and abuse among youth. This leadership will result in strong links between identified local needs and prevention program/system designs. Such topics will be the project of the District-wide Leadership Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention. Members will include the Superintendent, an Assistant Superintendent, a combination of Principals and Assistant Principals, the Director of Guidance and representatives of guidance and health teachers and regular classroom teachers. Policy will be reviewed annually.
II) Professional Development
Comprehensive substance use prevention programs involve the use of multiple strategies that include education and training; social competence skill development; social norms with expectations for behavior; policies, procedures and protocols; and problem identification and referral services. Through the scope of work of the District Team, district and school administrators play a key role in setting protocols for implementing and referral services.
Everett will provide training, so that all school staff know district policies, procedures, and protocols for prevention, intervention, and follow-up in preventing and responding to substance use and abuse. All faculty and staff will be provided training on the early warning signs and behaviors that indicate a student may be experiencing substance use problems, and will be aware of building-based referral systems and other protocols to follow. Staff who are responsible for implementing substance use prevention curricula have been provided with specific training and professional development on implementing evidence-based programs and effective strategies for preventing substance use.
III) Access to Resources and Services
Faculty and staff see students on a daily basis and often recognize changes in student performance, demeanor, and appearance that indicate a student may be at risk. School staff can play a key role in identifying and referring students with substance use related problems and working with their families. Educators and school counseling personnel will work in collaboration with substance use counseling professionals and mental health specialists to meet the needs of those students most at risk.
School counseling personnel have access to information and strategies necessary to facilitate referrals to community services for the wide variety of mental health problems that students experience, including substance use. The Everett Public Schools will establish a resource list for the network of services available through the agencies in our area.
Collaboration between schools and community behavioral health providers will address student-specific issues, including interventions such as small group, individual supports, and school re-entry plans. These efforts can support school staff including consultation on general as well as student-specific challenges and plans for school and community provider responses when necessary.
IV) Academic and Non-Academic Strategies
Integrating substance use prevention and education into schools is one of the easiest ways to reach youth and young adults. Everett Public Schools has implemented evidence based substance abuse prevention curriculum for grades K to 12. These programs are currently in practice in the Everett Public Schools and are developmentally appropriate. Additionally, they demonstrate cultural competency.
A. Healthsmart.com K-12
B. Life Skills 3-12
C. Rx for Understanding: Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse Curriculum
D. Healthy ME- Street Smart K-12
Moreover, the Everett Public Schools has school-based mental health professionals, who work directly with young people who are identified as being at risk. At least one adult in every school will be designated as the point of contact and support for students who are considered to be at risk.
V. POLICIES AND PROTOCOLS
ALCOHOL AND CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE USE
As it appears in the Everett Public Schools Teacher and Student Handbook
It is important to provide and maintain a safe and caring learning environment that is free of alcohol and drugs for students. The school district’s approach to cases of students who are or may be using or abusing alcohol or controlled substances is one of compassion and judicious handling in order to facilitate the swift rehabilitation of the student. If a teacher suspects that a student is under the influence of alcohol or drugs in school, the teacher should report the matter immediately to the Principal’s office.
If a staff member suspects a student of using or abusing alcohol or drugs, the following procedures apply:
The student will be referred to the school nurse. After speaking to the student, if the nurse determines that physical symptoms may be present, the nurse will consult with the student’s guidance counselor concerning the case. If the school nurse and the guidance counselor agree that it is in the best interest of the student, the student’s parents will be notified so that appropriate action may be taken. (Testing is suggested within twenty-four (24) hours.)
If it is believed that the student is not in possession of alcohol or drugs in school, but appears to be using or abusing alcohol or drugs outside of school, School personnel will discuss the matter with the student’s parents and explore the possibility of directing them to a counseling or referral agency that can assist the student with his or her needs. (If the student is found to be in possession of alcohol or a controlled substance in school, on school grounds or at a school-related or school-sponsored activity, he or she will be subject to disciplinary action and possible referral to law enforcement officials.)
When a Student Returns to School: A student who has entered a treatment program will be readmitted to school when he or she submits a statement from a physician, certifying the student is free from alcohol and/or controlled substances and is physically fit to return to school, or when the administration of the Everett Public Schools makes a determination that the student may return.
It is strongly advised that, when a student returns to school, he or she become involved in a series of conferences with his or her guidance counselor on a weekly basis.
Pending the development or availability of a substance abuse program and upon readmission to the school, the student may be assigned to an in-house drug awareness program for a number of hours as determined by the Principal or Vice Principal.
Vl Collaboration with Families
Since 2014, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, s. 96 has required each public school to have policies regarding substance use prevention and the education of its students about the dangers of substance abuse, to notify students’ parents or guardians about the policies, and to post the policies on the school’s website.
The Everett Public Schools adheres to the philosophy that families are essential partners in schools’ efforts to prevent substance use. Parental input, particularly from parents of students with substance related-problems, helps identify and prioritize the needs of the school community.
Everett Public Schools emphasizes the importance of school-community-home collaborations in weaving together the resources for comprehensive, multifaceted approaches to preventing substance use and abuse. Providing parents/guardians with information regarding the district’s and school’s substance use prevention and abuse education policies is critical, as they play a key role in their success. Everett Public Schools will inform parents/guardians about the district’s substance use prevention and abuse education policies on an annual basis.
The policy will be posted on the district website. The Student handbooks will also contain information on district policies, procedures and protocols. This information will also be made available to the Parent Teacher Associations/Organizations, School Councils and other related programming. Materials will be easily understandable and culturally appropriate.
Evidence-based prevention curricula containing an education component specifically designed for parents/guardians and other actively involved family members will be developed through the Health Department. This outreach can help parents/guardians and family members to keep students safe from substance use, by modeling skills and attitudes at home, thereby supporting the prevention component of the school initiative. Effective programming will involve parents/guardians through regular activities and by using more than one approach.
Nothing in this Policy creates or should be interpreted as creating an express or implied contract. Except for any provisions mandated by state law, federal law or applicable collective bargaining agreements, the Everett Public School District reserves the exclusive right at all times to unilaterally modify, revoke, or change any and all provisions of this Policy.