Swampscott High Students Caught Using Drugs, Alcohol Banned From Activities

By Peg Rusconi, WBZ-TV

SWAMPSCOTT (CBS) — When the spring sports season begins later this month, a new drug and alcohol policy is scheduled to take effect at Swampscott High School.

Students who are caught using drugs or alcohol at any time during the calendar year, on or off school grounds, would be barred from extracurricular activities for a full year.

“We want kids in school,” said Dr. Judith Bevis, a parent. She said she’s collected about 100 signatures on a petition that urges more discussion.

“We’re asking the school committee to delay the implementation and consult experts in adolescent substance abuse to develop a policy that works and keeps our kids safe.”

WBZ-TV’s Peg Rusconi reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union is weighing in. In a letter to the school committee, ACLU attorney Sarah Wunsch wrote, “It is not educators, but parents, who have primary rights in the upbringing of children, and a policy in effect 365 days per year infringes upon those rights.”

Wunsch said a lawsuit wouldn’t be out of the question.

“If a kid is barred for something that had nothing to do with school and the kid cannot take part in debate club or glee club or whatever the extracurricular we will look at that and we may take action,” said Wunsch.

Schools superintendent Dr. Lynne Celli declined an on-camera interview, but told WBZ the plan was approved in October after weeks of public input. She says incidents over the last five years, including deaths of recent grads convinced school officials there’s a substance abuse problem.

Many parents in the pick-up line told us off camera they approve of the policy. But others worry it could keep troubled kids from the very programs that help them stay straight.


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