Substance Abuse

The following procedures are established in implementation of Policy No. 5530, Substance Abuse.  The possession, use, or distribution of alcoholic beverages, controlled dangerous substances as defined at N.J.S.A. 24:21-2, anabolic steroids, any chemical or chemical compound that releases vapors or fumes causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction, or dulling of the brain or nervous system, including, but not limited to, glue containing a solvent having property of releasing toxic vapors or fumes as defined at N.J.S.A. 2A:170-25.9 or over-the-counter and prescription medications which are improperly used to cause intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction, or dulling of the brain or nervous system. Therefore, students who possess, use, distribute, or allow themselves to be under the influence of alcohol or controlled dangerous substances (CDS) on school property or at school- sponsored activities are in violation of state law and Board of Education policy and shall be subject to the provisions of these procedures. The Board of Education’s substance abuse policies and procedures shall be explained in the Student Handbook. In addition, students shall be made aware of the policies and procedures regarding substance abuse through classroom training session(s) conducted annually within the first thirty (30) days of the academic school year.

I. Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances or Drug Paraphernalia

  1. Any staff member who seizes or discovers any substance or item believed to be a controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia shall immediately notify and turn over the material to the principal (“principal” means “principal or designee” throughout this policy). The principal shall immediately notify the Superintendent/designee, who in turn shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency as per the “District/Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement ” to receive such material. The staff member or principal shall safeguard the material against further use or destruction and secure it until such time it can be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

  2. The principal shall provide to the appropriate law enforcement agency as per the “District/Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement” all information concerning the manner in which the material was discovered or seized, the identity of all persons who had custody of the material following its discovery or seizure, and the identity of any student or staff member believed to have been in possession of the material. (See exception below.)

  3. In exception to the above, the principal or staff member shall not disclose the identity of any student who voluntarily, on his or her own initiative, turned over the material to a school employee, provided there is reason to believe that the student was involved with the substance or paraphernalia for the purpose of personal use, not distribution activities, and further provided that the student agrees to participate in an appropriate treatment or counseling program.

  4. Any teaching staff member having reason to believe that a student has in possession or in any way been involved in the distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia on or near school property including on a school bus or at a school-sponsored function shall report the matter and supporting reasons as soon as possible to the principal or (in the absence of the principal) the staff member in charge at the time of the alleged violation. So informed, that person shall notify the Superintendent, who in turn shall notify, as soon as possible; the appropriate law enforcement agency as per the District/Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement. This is subject to the provisions regarding confidentiality cited below--Section IX. 

  5. The Superintendent/designee shall provide the appropriate law enforcement agency as per the “District/Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement” all information concerning the matter, including the identity of the student involved. The Superintendent/designee shall not disclose, however, the identity of any student who has voluntarily sought treatment or counseling for a substance abuse problem, provided the student is not currently involved or implicated in drug-distribution activities. 

  6. For the purposes of this section, an admission by a student in response to questioning by the principal or teaching staff member, or following the discovery of a controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia by the principal or teaching staff member shall not constitute a voluntary, self-initiated request for counseling and treatment. 

  7. Whenever a student is reported to the police by the administration and/or arrested on school property for violating any law prohibiting possession, use, sale, or other distribution of any controlled dangerous substance or drug paraphernalia, the parent(s)/guardian shall be informed immediately by the principal. 


II. Possession of Alcoholic Beverages 

  1. Any staff member who has reason to suspect that a student is in possession of an alcoholic beverage on school property including on a school bus or at a school-sponsored function shall report that suspicion and supporting reasons to a school administrator or the professional staff member in charge of the function as soon as possible.

  2. The school administrator or professional staff member in charge shall confiscate the suspected beverage in accordance with statute, code, and local administrative procedures relating to student search and seizure due process rights. 

  3. The beverage shall be turned over to the principal. Beverages shall be disposed of as soon as the principal determines they are no longer needed as evidence. 

  4. The parent(s)/guardian of the student shall be informed by the principal as soon as possible. 

  5. Sanctions shall be imposed. (See Sanctions VII below.) 

III. Suspected to be Under the Influence 

  1. Any educational staff member or other professional to whom it appears that a pupil may be currently under the influence of alcohol or other drugs on school property including on a school bus or at a school-sponsored function shall report the matter as soon as possible to the certified or non-certified school nurse or the school physician and the Principal (or, in the Principal’s absence, to a person designated by the Principal) as required in N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-12. If the Principal and the certified or non-certified School Nurse or school physician are not in attendance, the staff member responsible for the function shall be notified immediately. 

  2. The Principal and/or designee, in response to every report, shall immediately notify the pupil’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and the Superintendent.

  3. The Principal and/or designee, in response to every report, must arrange for an immediate medical examination of the pupil for the purposes of providing appropriate health care for the pupil and for determining whether the pupil is under the influence of alcohol, or other drugs. The medical examination shall be performed by a physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy that is selected by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s). If the parent’s or legal guardian’s physician licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy is not immediately available, medical examination shall be conducted by the school physician. If neither the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) doctor nor the school physician is immediately available, the pupil shall be taken to the emergency room of the nearest hospital for examination. The pupil shall be accompanied by the pupil’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) if available and by a member of the school staff appointed by the Principal. 

    Parental or legal guardian permission is not required for the school’s physician or emergency room examination. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may, but is not required to, accompany the pupil to the school physician and/or emergency room.

    The Principal and/or designee will supervise the pupil while the pupil is waiting for the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to take the pupil to the physician or while the student is waiting for and receiving the examination by the school physician or in the emergency room. An examination conducted by a physician selected by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) shall be at the expense of the parent and shall not be at the expense of the school district. An examination conducted by the school physician or by a physician at the emergency room of the nearest hospital shall be at the expense of the school district.

  4. The school district, in cooperation with the medical professional licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy will establish the minimum requirements to be used for these medical examinations conducted in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.3 et seq. The minimum requirements for the examination will be periodically reviewed and updated as needed. Any substance screening conducted by the school nurse and/or other staff is not a substitute for the required medical examination required in N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-12.

  5. A written report of the examination of the pupil shall be furnished by the examining physician to the pupil’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s), the Principal, and to the Superintendent within twenty-four hours of the referral of the pupil for suspected drug or alcohol use.

  6. When the medical examination is performed by a physician other than the school physician or at the emergency room of the nearest hospital, the parent is required to verify within twenty-four hours of the referral of the pupil for suspected drug or alcohol use that the medical examination occurred. The verification will include the printed name, address and phone number, and signature of the examining physician indicating the required report is pending and the date by which it will be provided.

  7. If the written report of the examination is not submitted to the parent, Principal or Superintendent within twenty-four hours of the referral of the pupil, the pupil will be allowed to return to school until such time a positive determination of alcohol or other drug use is received from the physician.

  8. If the written report of the medical examination verifies that alcohol or other drugs do not interfere with the pupil’s ability to perform in school, the pupil will be immediately returned to school.

  9. If there is a positive determination from the medical examination, indicating the pupil’s alcohol or other drug use interferes with his or her physical or mental ability to perform in school the pupil will be returned to the parent’s care as soon as possible. Attendance at school will not resume until a written report has been submitted to the parent(s) or legal guardian(s), Principal and Superintendent from the physician who has examined the pupil to determine whether alcohol or other drug use interferes with his or her physical or mental ability to perform in school. The report must verify the pupil’s alcohol or other drug use no longer interferes with the pupil’s physical and mental ability to perform in school. Removal of a pupil with a disability shall be made in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A: 14-2 .8.

    A parent(s) or legal guardian(s) whose refusal to comply with N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-12 frustrates the operation of the regulations and the return of the pupil to school shall be deemed to have violated the Compulsory Education Act N.J.S.A. l8A:38-25 and 18A:38- 31, and/or the neglect laws pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-1 et seq., and may be subject to prosecution. Furthermore, refusal or failure of a pupil to comply with N.J.S.A. 18A:40A-12 shall be handled by the district in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.1(c)2. 

    Refusal or failure to comply with required medical exam/testing will be treated as a violation of the substance abuse policy. Refusal is considered a confirmation of use and the student will be suspended for four (4) days and be subject to all other disciplinary aspects of the policy.  

    Tampered/diluted test results will also be considered a violation of the substance abuse policy. The student will be suspended for four (4) days and will be subject to all other disciplinary aspects of the policy.

  10. While the pupil is home because of the medical examination or after the pupil returns to school, a student assistance coordinator or individual who holds a school nurse, school psychologist, school social worker, or pupil personnel services endorsement on the Educational Services Certificate and are trained to assess alcohol and other drug abuse shall:
    • Conduct an alcohol and other drug assessment of the pupil and a reasonable investigation of the situation for the purpose of making a preliminary determination of the pupil’s need for educational programs, supportive services or treatment which extend beyond the general school program by virtue of the use of alcohol or other drugs by the pupil. The findings of the assessment alone shall not prevent a pupil from attending school; and

    • Cooperate with community agencies as defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:16-4.l(b) and juvenile justice officials in providing evaluation, referral and continuity of care for substance abuse treatment.

  11. While the pupil is at home because of the medical examination or after the pupil returns to school, the Principal or Superintendent may recommend or require alcohol and other drug assessment of the pupil or evaluation by appropriately certified or licensed professionals to make a positive determination of a pupil’s need for programs and services which extend beyond the general school program, as necessary. The findings of these additional evaluations alone shall not be used to prevent a pupil from attending school. 

  12. If a student voluntarily admits to being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the student shall nonetheless be required to submit to a medical examination and testing as indicated above.

  13. Graduating seniors who consume alcohol and/or drugs just prior to or during the graduation ceremonies shall not be allowed to participate in the ceremonies.

  14. If at any time it is determined a pupil’s use of substances presents a danger to the pupil’s health and well-being, the student assistance coordinator or individual who holds a school nurse, school psychologist, school social worker, or pupil personnel services endorsements on the Educational Services Certificate and are trained in alcohol and other drug abuse treatment referral shall initiate a referral for substance abuse treatment.

  15. Any educational or non-educational school staff member who in good faith reports a pupil to the Principal or Principal’s designee in compliance with Policy 5530 shall not be liable in civil damages as a result of making such a report, as specified in N.J.S.A 18A:40A-13 and 14.

IV. Suspected Use at a School-Sponsored Function After School Hours and/or off School Property 

  1. The same procedures as those under III (use during school hours or at a school function) above apply with the following modifications:

    • Staff or chaperones who suspect use of alcohol, anabolic steroids, or controlled dangerous substances are required to report the suspicion and supporting reasons to the professional staff member in charge. The staff member in charge shall act as the principal’s designee unless or until the principal is able to assume responsibility.

    • Once the student is removed to a protected environment, the student’s parent(s)/guardian shall be notified of the incident and given a description of the situation, observed symptoms, and follow-up actions taken. Arrangements should be made for the parent(s)/guardian to assume physical responsibility for the student as soon as possible. 

    • A building administrator shall be informed as soon as possible. The principal shall inform the Superintendent as soon as possible. 

    • The procedures as described in Section III-B shall be followed. The assistance of a local rescue squad and/or local police maybe requested to insure safe transport to an appropriate medical facility and/or nearest hospital.

    • The staff member in charge has the discretionary authority to terminate a group’s continued participation in an event and return to Princeton. In making this determination, telephone consultation with a building principal shall be attempted. 

    • Any student who, as a result of the chemical screening, is determined to be substance-free shall be notified by the building principal of his/her status and be immediately reinstated. The building principal shall also immediately notify the parent(s)/guardian regarding the student’s status and the student’s reinstatement.
  2. All students participating in overnight field trips will be required to submit a signed permission form stating that they have read the substance abuse policy and understand that violation of the policy will result in parental notification, removal from the event, and sanctions listed in section VII.

  3. Medical examinations due to policy violations at school-sponsored functions after school hours and/or off school property, as well as overnight field trips shall be at the expense of the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and shall not be at the expense of the school district.

V. Sale or Distribution of Alcohol or Controlled Dangerous Substances on School Property or During School-Sponsored Functions  

  1. Any staff member who has reason to suspect that a student was observed passing alcohol or a controlled dangerous substance to another student is required to immediately report that suspicion and supporting reasons to the principal or professional staff member in charge. This report shall include the names (if possible) of all individuals who witnessed or participated in the transaction. The principal or professional staff member in charge will implement procedures I-B (possession) above.

    Sanctions for the sale or distribution of alcohol or dangerous substances are as described in Section VII-A-2. 

  2.  Any staff member who has more general suspicions regarding student distribution of alcohol or controlled dangerous substances is required to report such suspicions, with reasons, to the principal as soon as possible. If the principal, in his/her follow-up of the report, develops sufficient reason to believe there may be substance to the allegation, he/she shall report the suspicions to the local police and inform the Superintendent. The parent(s)/guardian shall be informed immediately by the principal.

 

VI. Procedures for Evaluation and Treatment 

  1. The student shall be referred to the student assistance coordinator to determine the need for a substance abuse assessment by appropriately certified Board of Education staff and/or by a community agency or private practitioner certified by the appropriate drug and alcohol licensing board. 

  2. The substance abuse assessment or other appropriate assessment (e.g., Child Study Team evaluation) would serve as a basis for determining a treatment plan. Such a plan could include changed provisions for a program of instruction, counseling, and related services while the student is receiving therapeutic or medical care for a diagnosed dependency problem. Any therapeutic or medical care for a diagnosed dependency problem shall not be at the expense of the Board of Education.

    Parent(s)/guardian shall participate in the development of the plan as a component of a “Reentry Agreement”. The Reentry Agreement shall include the development of a treatment plan, a student behavioral contract and require participation in a student assistance program in the district and the community.

    The treatment plan may include periodic substance use screening, to be conducted at parental expense. 

  3.  The Board of Education is not required to assume financial responsibility for services provided by non-school staff.

  4. The plan shall be implemented as soon as possible. 

  5. If it is found that a student is beyond rehabilitation through available resources, or the student does not meet the conditions of his/her Reentry Agreement, including the treatment plan, the principal shall recommend appropriate measures, which may include expulsion proceedings, to the Superintendent. 

VII. Sanctions

  1. Definition 
    1. Possession/Use--shall include the following:
      • Immediate suspension for 4 days of school.
      • Loss of campus privileges for 45 school days. 
      • Upon return from suspension: loss of extracurricular privileges for a minimum of two weeks; continued responsibility for practice activities but loss of the right to engage in public performance activities for a minimum of two weeks. 
      • Discipline action shall be taken as indicated in Board Policy 5610, Student Suspension, specifically the assignment of a case manager to serve as a single point of contact and to monitor the status of the student. In addition, community service as a consequence of violating policies and procedures may be required.
      • As a condition of readmission, the student and parent(s)/guardian must meet with the student assistance coordinator and jointly develop a Reentry Agreement. The Reentry Agreement shall include a student behavioral contract and a Third-Party Substance Evaluation/Assessment.
      • The jointly developed Reentry Agreement must be understood and signed by the building principal/designee, the parent(s)/guardian, and the student. 
      • State law requires that possession of drugs be reported to the police (see Section I-C for exception). The Superintendent shall determine whether the possession and/or use of alcohol should be reported to the police.


    2. Distribution/Sale
    • Immediate suspension for 4 days of school.
    • Loss of campus privileges for remainder of school year. 
    • Report of the incident shall be made to the police. 
    • Upon returning from suspension: loss of extracurricular privileges for a minimum of two weeks; continued responsibility for practice activities but loss of the right to engage in public performance activities for a minimum of two weeks. 
    • Discipline action shall be taken as indicated in Board Policy 5610, Student Suspension, specifically the assignment of a case manager to serve as a single point of contact and to monitor the status of the student. In addition, community service as a consequence of violating policies and procedures may be required.
    • As a condition of readmission, the student and parent(s)/guardian must meet with the substance awareness coordinator and jointly develop a Reentry Agreement. The Reentry Agreement shall include a student behavioral contract and a Third-Party Substance Evaluation/Assessment.
    • The jointly developed Reentry Agreement must be understood and signed by the building principal/designee, the parent(s)/guardian, and the student.
    • Long-term suspension or expulsion proceedings before the Board of Education may be instituted.
  1. Criteria and Range of Penalties for Board Action

    Criteria and a range of penalties for consideration when disciplinary action is necessary in cases of substance abuse by student(s) shall be available to the Board of Education. 

    Penalties may be invoked singularly or in combination based upon the circumstances of the individual case(s). The following shall act as guidelines to the Board of Education in determining disciplinary action: 

    • Reentry Agreement: Behavioral contract shall be developed and signed by the building principal/designee, the student, and parent(s).
    • Third-Party Substance Evaluation/Assessment: Substance abuse evaluation provided through a third-party treatment center shall be necessary. This shall be at no cost to the school district.
    • Community Service: A specified number of hours of community service may be required in order to reenter school. 
    • Random Drug/Alcohol Screening: As a component of the student’s Reentry Agreement, random screenings for substance abuse may be required and provided by the district.
    • Abbreviated School Day: A limited school day that addresses the student’s educational needs may be developed through the building principal and the student’s guidance counselor.
    • In-School Detention: Receiving instruction in a structured setting within the school building. 
    • In-Home or Off-Site Instruction: Receiving instruction through the use of a teacher in either the home or a district facility.
    • Referral to the Family/Juvenile Court or DCP& P: Referral to the Family Crisis Intervention Unit operated by the county juvenile or family court system. The Superintendent may also make referral to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P).

    Alternative Educational Program
    An educational placement outside of the school district developed through the building principal and the student’s guidance counselor. 

    Suspension 
    Short or long term suspensions. 

    Expulsion 
    The Board may choose to conduct an expulsion hearing based upon the individual case(s).

  2. Failure to Cooperate 
    • If a student’s parent(s)/guardian or if the student is unwilling to cooperate in the implementation of the Reentry Agreement, the recommendation(s) of the community agency or these procedures, the district administration and the Board of Education shall take appropriate action as provided for under VII, Sanctions. 
    • This action shall be based upon the facts, the advice of legal and (if appropriate) medical counsel, and the existing school discipline policy, which includes suspension or expulsion.
  3. Identification and Remediation of Pupils Involved with Substances.
    • Teaching staff members shall be alert to the signs of a pupil’s involvement with substances, in accordance with the training offered in in-service training sessions. 
    • A teaching staff member who suspects that a pupil is involved with substances, but not under the influence of them, should refer the pupil to the School Nurse, the Student Assistance Coordinator, a Guidance Counselor, the Child Study Team, or another professional staff member or trained resource person, as appropriate. The staff member shall notify the Principal of the referral; if appropriate, the Principal should notify the pupil’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the referral and discuss with the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) the possibility of medical or therapeutic treatment.
    • When a pupil involved with substances has discussed his/her involvement with a teaching staff member with an expectation of confidentiality, the staff member may respect that confidence. The teaching staff member should encourage the pupil to seek aid from a professional trained in counseling and to confide in his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s). When the staff member believes that the pupil requires professional counseling or intervention that the pupil will not seek on his/her own, the staff member may report the pupil to the Principal, who shall determine whether to notify the pupil’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and may report the pupil to an appropriate district professional or trained resource person or to an appropriate agency for evaluation and possible treatment.

VIII. Amnesty  

  1. Students who voluntarily acknowledge an alcohol or drug problem to a member of the staff or to the administration and voluntarily enroll in a school-based and/or approved community-based substance abuse program may be granted amnesty from the sanctions, for first-time offenses, providing they remain within the parameters of appropriate behavior including, in any event, refraining from possession or use of controlled dangerous substance thereafter. 
  2. There shall be no amnesty for students found to be selling drugs.
  3. Students who refer themselves to any member of the student assistance team for reasons relating to substance abuse shall not be considered to be in violation of Board policy, and they shall come under procedures relating to the student assistance program. 

IX. Confidentiality of Student Involvement in Intervention and Treatment Programs 

  1. All information concerning a student’s involvement in a school intervention or treatment program shall be kept strictly confidential in accordance with applicable federal regulations (42 CFR 2).
  2. Nothing in these procedures shall be construed in any way to authorize or require the transmittal of any information or records in the possession of a student assistance counselor or treatment program. 
  3. School officials shall not disclose to law enforcement officials or to any person other than a member of the district’s student assistance program that a student has received or is receiving evaluation or treatment services from the district’s substance abuse program. Nor shall school officials disclose any information, including the student’s identity or information about illegal activity, where such information was learned in the course of or as a result of evaluation or treatment services provided by the district’s program. 


X. Staff Liability 

  1. Any staff member who reports a student to the principal in compliance with the provisions of these procedures shall not be liable in civil damages as a result of making such a report as specified in N.J.S.A. 2A:62A-4 and as provided for under N.J.S.A. 18A:40- 4.2. 
  2. Any staff member who fails to report as required by these procedures may be found liable for negligence and/or to be in violation of state administrative code and state drug laws. 
  3. The identity of any staff member reporting a student to the principal in compliance with the provisions of these procedures shall remain confidential


XI. Reporting to the State 

Each incident of substance abuse shall be reported to the Commissioner on the Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse Incident Report form.

XII. Police-School Relations

  1. An agreement between school and law enforcement officials, outlining procedural relationships and responsibilities, shall be contained in the “District/Law Enforcement Memorandum of Agreement”.  
  2. The agreement shall ensure cooperation between school staff and law enforcement authorities in all matters relating to the use, possession, and distribution of controlled dangerous substances and drug paraphernalia. 
  3. The agreement shall be reviewed annually. Revision shall be made as necessary, in consultation with appropriate law enforcement authorities.


XIII. Review and Dissemination 

  1. These procedures shall be reviewed annually, as required by law
  2. The policy and procedures for discipline, evaluation, and treatment of students shall be explained to students at the beginning of each school year and made available annually to all school staff, students, and parent(s)/guardian. 

XIV. Training

  1. All new staff shall receive in-service training on substance abuse policies and procedures within 60 days of their employment.
  2. All staff shall be trained, as deemed necessary by the Superintendent, regarding the specific observable behaviors which may indicate substance abuse and the referral of those individuals for evaluation and counseling.
  3. Parent(s)/guardian substance abuse educational programs shall be offered annually at times and places convenient to parent(s)/guardian on school or other premises.