Photo courtesy FDA
The vaping epidemic that has been sweeping the nation is currently being combatted from two fronts; the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which has started a campaign against it and now individual school districts have begun to crack down on drug abuse. DVUSD has adopted a new drug diversion program, which if completed by a student within forty-five days of the incident, can result in a reduction of their suspension.
“The drug diversion programs offered by the district requires the student and at least one parent or guardian to participate in six hours of education, group, and individual family therapy spread out over several sessions. We believe the family component is critical as we seek to keep our students in school and focused on their education. We are committed to being part of the solution to these social problems that find themselves showing up on our campuses,” said Curtis Finch, the Superintendent of the DVUSD.
Each individual case is taken into consideration by the admins on campus. Punishments for being under the influence of drugs or being in possession of them vary from a minimum of ten days of off-school suspension to a maximum of up to two years suspension or expulsion and a referral to law enforcement for prosecution with fines that range from $200 to $500.
“For whether they are under the influence or caught with paraphernalia we utilize the student rights and responsibilities handbook so that we are consistent on a regular basis but the consequences are the same [throughout the district] and they’re very straightforward,” said Justin McLain, Assistant Principal at OHS.
Part of the new drug diversion program includes the use of specially-trained drug detecting dogs. These animals will be used to conduct random searches on campuses in parking lots, hallways, locker rooms, etc. They will be brought in to demonstrate the full extent of their abilities in order to further discourage students from bringing any drugs onto the campus in the first place.
“We are always striving for a safer and more secure campus for the student body and staff and everything and anything we can do to create an environment that is conductive to learning would benefit us all. I think that integrating any and every resource that is available to us, especially the drug dogs, would be advantageous,” said Bradley Garraway, lead monitor at OHS.
The administration and staff both at the district office and here on campus look out for the students well-being first in hopes of preserving the learning environment to be the best it can be. It is their job to protect the students and that each incident doesn’t just affect them on a small scale.
“I think the message to the kids is: keep that stuff off this campus. If they choose to participate in those types of activities in their life it’s not good for their health and it’s not good idea in general, but more importantly they need to understand that the school is federal property. It’s more than just Sandra Day it has to do with DVUSD which is held accountable to the state of Arizona which is held accountable to the government nationally; it’s important that students realize what the big picture is,” said McLain.