The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 4, 2009

Drug abuse detected at Carlisle School

A recent incident occurred at the Carlisle School involving drugs and one or more students. Chief of Police John Sullivan confirmed his department is working with the school, but classified the incident as “a school matter.” He said the substance was presumed to be marijuana, although it was not sent out for analysis.

Drug use is a suspendable offence

Marijuana remains illegal; however, Sullivan noted that recent changes in the law have “decriminalized” possession of small amounts. Since last January, possession of an ounce or less is a civil offense subject to a $100 fine. Violators under age 18 must also complete a drug awareness program.

School Superintendent Marie Doyle said the school “takes illegal drug use very seriously, and appropriate consequences are given as outlined in our handbook and policies.” She would not discuss the particular case, but noted, “Drug use is a suspendable offense.”

“When students break rules,” Doyle explained, “appropriate consequences are given. Yet we also believe in keeping students connected to our community. Carlisle also has a Restorative Justice Program, and this is a highly effective program to help students process their mistakes and make restitutions to the community.” The Restorative Justice program helps young offenders by offering an alternative to the judicial system and supporting them in making positive change. There is no court record of the case once the youth completes the program. Doyle said, “The school also maintains a referral list of counselors and support programs for families and students.”

School support programs

Substance abuse education and support programs are offered at all levels at the school. The Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education (DARE) program is taught annually to students by the Carlisle Police Department. “The middle school has an advisory program where teachers mentor small groups of students on a weekly basis,” Doyle said. “In this venue, teachers discuss specific issues and work with students to guide them in making good decisions. Advisory is also a place to process and follow-up events that happen inside and outside of school. In addition, we offer DARE to students in grade 5 as well as Open Circle classes in grades K-5.” Doyle said they have not seen a rise in drug or alcohol use at the school. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito