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Substance Abuse Policy



This policy establishes the Archdiocese of Atlanta’s position on the use or abuse of alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances by its high school students. It is a part of our commitment to safeguard the health of our students and to provide a safe environment for students to learn and to grow. Because substance abuse, either while at school or away from school, can seriously endanger the health and safety of students and render it impossible to create an environment conducive for learning, the Archdiocese of Atlanta has established this Drug-Free School Program to detect users, provide appropriate counseling and resources to support students and families and ultimately remove students who continue to abuse alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances. The Archdiocese of Atlanta is committed to preventing the use and/or presence of these substances in its school or on its property and to encouraging its students to say "no" to drugs and alcohol.

The elements of this policy are as follows:

(1) Anti-drug Policy. The Archdiocese of Atlanta prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, presence, or use of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances on school property or during any school sponsored activities. Students violating this prohibition will be referred to rehabilitation, counseling and/or disciplined up to and including expulsion.

(2) Notice. Notice of this policy will be posted in appropriate handbooks and policy manuals and copies of the policy will be available to students and/or their parents during regular business hours in the administrative offices.

(3) Acknowledgment/Copy to Students. All students and parents will acknowledge notice and consent of this substance abuse policy by annually signing the Student/Parent Acknowledgment Form.

(4) Education Program/Student & Parent Orientation Sessions. The Archdiocese of Atlanta will present several Substance Abuse Orientation/Education Programs for all students on a periodic basis. In addition, the Archdiocese of Atlanta will conduct Parent Orientation Sessions designed to explain the school's Substance Abuse Program and general education concerning the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

(5) Application of Policy. This policy applies to all high school students grades 9-12.

(6) Policy Implementation Dates. The mandatory drug and alcohol testing provisions of this policy will become effective with the 2017-2018 school year. Parents or legal guardians of all students enrolled for the 2017-2018 school year are required, as a condition of enrollment of their son or daughter at any archdiocesan high school, to acknowledge and consent to the Student Substance Abuse Policy, including the drug and alcohol testing procedures.

(7) Mandatory Drug Testing. Archdiocesan high schools will utilize drug and alcohol testing to help administer this policy, beginning on the first day of classes for the 2017-2018 school year and each school year thereafter. Archdiocesan high schools reserve the right to drug and/or alcohol test students at any time, for any reason. Any refusal to take a drug and/or alcohol test will result in referral to rehabilitation and/or disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, depending on the circumstances. All parents/legal guardians of students and students will be required to sign the Chemical Screening Consent and Release Form prior to drug or alcohol testing as a condition of enrollment. Such consent is deemed valid for the entire school year. In general, the following types of testing will be used:

a. Random Testing. All students in grades 9 through 12 will be subject to random testing throughout the school year.

b. Reasonable Suspicion Testing. Students will be tested when reasonable suspicion exists such that their behavior or performance indicates possible alcohol or other drug use, in violation of this policy. The decision to test a student under reasonable suspicion rests with the high school principal.

c. Post Accident Testing. Students will be tested following serious accidents, which cause injuries requiring medical attention. Students will not be tested under this provision following accidents which only cause minor injuries, requiring only minor first aid treatment.

d. Follow-up Testing. Students will be tested when there has been an admission of alcohol/drug use, detection of alcohol/drug use, or when returning from counseling/rehabilitation, which was the result of a positive test and the involuntary referral of the student to rehabilitation. Follow-up testing shall be conducted at least three times a year for a two-year period due to the above conditions and without advance notice to the student and at the discretion of the High School Principal.

(8) Cost of Drug Testing. Archdiocesan high schools will pay the cost of all mandatory drug and/or alcohol tests, initial and confirmation. A student and/or his/her parents shall pay the cost of any contested test, follow-up testing and any additional tests not subject to the student substance abuse policy programs.

(9) Positive Drug Test.

a. Medical Review Officer (MRO) - All positive drug test results will be reviewed by the Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO may contact the student and his/her parents in order to investigate the reasons behind a positive drug test. Failure to cooperate with the MRO will result in immediate suspension pending disciplinary review. If the MRO is unable to contact the student and his/her parents, the MRO will communicate that fact to the appropriate high school principal. Once the MRO has finalized the investigation s/he will communicate the results to the high school principal.

b. Confirmation/Notification/Retesting - All positive drug tests will be confirmed using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) or an equivalent method. Within five (5) school days after receipt of a positive confirmed test result from the MRO, a student and his/her parents will receive written notification from the school of such positive confirmed test result (Notification Form), the consequences of such results, and the options available, whereupon the student and his/her parents will have five (5) school days to contest or explain the positive test result. If the student's or parent's explanation or challenge is unsatisfactory to the MRO, the MRO shall report a positive test result back to the high school principal.

c. Students - If a student tests positive (confirmed drug test), his or her parents shall be notified, and he or she will be referred to evaluation, assessment, counseling and/or rehabilitation at his/her or his/her parent's own expense. Students must enter and successfully complete an approved substance abuse counseling/rehabilitation program at their own expense to remain enrolled at an archdiocesan high school. Each school will maintain a resource file which contains information on rehabilitation resources. Refusal to agree to be referred to rehabilitation will result in immediate expulsion.

(10) Drug Testing Procedures. The Archdiocese of Atlanta will utilize any type of drug and/or alcohol testing procedure that it believes is appropriate, in conformity with the law, including urinalysis, blood tests, breathalyzers, or any other method. All parents/legal guardians of students and their students, and/or students over the age of majority will be required to sign the Chemical Screening Consent and Release Form at the time reenrollment occurs as each school, and such consent is deemed valid for the entire school year.

(11)  Drugs
. The Archdiocese of Atlanta will determine the controlled substances (including alcohol) for which testing will be performed.

(12)  Drug & Alcohol Arrests/Convictions
. Any student who is involved with, arrested or convicted, including a plea of nolo contendre or other pleas with respect to any alcohol or drug incident must report the details of the incident(s) immediately and in no case later than five (5) days to the Principal. Any such incidents that are not reported by the student or his/her parents or legal guardians will be treated as a serious violation of this policy and subject the student to immediate suspension pending a disciplinary committee review. Should a student be convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), disciplinary action shall result in accordance with the parent/student handbook and the Policy Manual for the Office of Catholic Schools.

(13) Resource File/Student Assistance. Each high school will maintain a Resource File in the administrative offices containing information on substance abuse assistance programs and rehabilitation resources, where students and their parents may obtain information and/or counseling or treatment for rehabilitation from substance abuse, at parent/guardian expense.

(14) Disciplinary Action.
The Archdiocese of Atlanta reserves the right to use

disciplinary action up to and including expulsion for any violation of this policy, any positive drug or alcohol test, tampered/adulterated test, refusal to take a test, or any refusal by a student to cooperate with any aspect of this policy. If a student tests positive a second time for a drug or alcohol test, it will be grounds for possible immediate expulsion.

(15) Confidentiality. All information, test results, or other materials received by any of the high schools in the operation of this substance abuse program are confidential communications, which will only be utilized on a need-to-know basis. These confidential communications and information will not be released unless required by law or with parental consent.

(16) Designated Substance Abuse Program Official: The high school principal is the designated Substance Abuse Program Official. All communications and the coordination of the program will be conducted through the designated substance abuse program official.

(17) Searches. The Archdiocese of Atlanta reserves the right to search any person, personal article, locker, vehicle or other items brought onto archdiocesan property. Refusal by a student to consent to a search will be grounds for immediate suspension pending a referral to the disciplinary review committee.

(18) Policy Changes. The Archdiocese of Atlanta reserves the right to change, alter, or amend this policy at any time at its discretion.

(19) Definitions. When used in this policy, the term:

a. "Alcohol" means ethyl alcohol, hydrated oxide of ethyl, or spirits of wine, from whatever source or by whatever process produced.

b. "Drug" means amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), methadone, methaqualene, opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, propoxphene, esctacy or a metabolite of any such substances. The Archdiocese of Atlanta may test a student for any or all of these.

c. "Student" means any person enrolled at any archdiocesan high school.

d. "Nonprescription medication" means a drug or medication authorized pursuant to federal or state law for general distribution and use without a prescription in the treatment of human disease, ailments, or injuries.

e. "Prescription medication" means a drug or medication lawfully prescribed by a physician for an individual and taken in accordance with such prescription.

f. "Reasonable suspicion testing" means substance abuse testing based on a belief that an student is using or has used drugs or alcohol in violation of this policy drawn from specific objective and articulable facts and reasonable inferences drawn from those facts in light of experience.

g. "Substance" means drugs or alcohol.

h. "Substance abuse test" or "test" means any chemical, biological, or physical instrumental analysis administered for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of a drug or its metabolites or of alcohol.

“Age of Majority” means the legally defined age at which a person is considered as an adult as defined by the state of Georgia. Although a student may reach the age of majority, all students enrolled in archdiocesan schools are considered to be under parental control; the Archdiocese of Atlanta honors relationships with parents/guardians and does not enter into a formal relationship with emancipated and/or married students.

j. “Administration Designee” will be the High School Principal.