Chilliwack school district sticks with drug and alcohol policy – for now

Chilliwack school district’s drugs and alcohol policy will remain as is, but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming down the pipe.

Chilliwack school district’s drugs and alcohol policy will remain as is, but that doesn’t mean changes aren’t coming down the pipe.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Chilliwack Board of Education approved to keep Policy 500, Drugs and Alcohol, as is at the recommendation of the Education Policy Advisory Committee.

The committee, which has representation from trustees, administration, teachers, support staff, parents and students, felt students needed the boundaries outlined in the policy.

“The students [on the committee] spoke very clearly and unanimously in that we needed to maintain our position in this policy,” said trustee Doug McKay, who sits on the committee.

The only trustee in opposition of the current policy was trustee Barry Neufeld.

Neufeld, a former probation officer and restorative justice facilitator with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, said the policy is a disservice to a large portion of Chilliwack’s student body.

“With all due respect to the students on this committee, I don’t really think they adequately represent the kids who are struggling and don’t feel connected to their community,” said Neufeld.

“This policy is archaic, punitive, and not worthy of a modern education system.”

Neufeld said the policy, which encourages a drugs- and alcohol-free school environment, does more harm than good.

“Students with addiction problems, they have a disease, they’re sick. When they’re going through troubling times, removing them from their friends and school environment will only make it worse,” he said.

“If we’re really serious about wanting to increase graduation rates, then this policy is totally out of sync.”

But policy is a belief statement, not a directive, said trustee McKay.

Where changes may still occur is in the drugs and alcohol regulation, which is a directive created by senior management and administration.

Currently, that regulation is zero tolerance for secondary school students.

Supt. Evelyn Novak told The Progress the drugs and alcohol regulation will undergo a review sometime in January or February, in which principals and vice principals will have an opportunity to provide input.

She also said students and parents may also be surveyed.

“We’re going to take a look at the research, what’s working and not working, how this fits with what we currently want to happen, and how we work with students,” said Novak.

A couple of incidences this year was the impetus for the district taking a closer look at its drugs and alcohol policy and regulation.

In September, 10 Grade 12 students at Sardis secondary were expelled for admitting to smoking marijuana while on a school-sanctioned soccer tournament.

“I think because of the number of students at one time, because of the groups involved, it shone a light on the policy and regulation,” said Novak. “And we had feedback from parents and students.

“We want to be responsive to our staff, as well as our community.”

Just Posted

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

Chilliwack’s Ben Hagkull leads Team B.C. into junior wheelchair b-ball nationals

The tournament starts today and continues through Sunday in Longueuil, Québec

VIDEO: Climber ‘catches the sunrise’ over city atop B.C. crane

Police warn ‘rooftopping’ poses risk to climber, public and first responders

Salmon Arm community cheers on Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Experts: Society has a role in trying to prevent domestic violence

Experts are speaking out following the murder of a woman and her son in Ontario

Progress on fixing Phoenix pay system backlog could be short-lived: Ottawa

Feds have said they won’t try to recover money overpaid until all outstanding issues are fixed

Northern lights chasers in Canada discover new type named ‘Steve’

Phenomenon linked to a powerful current created by charged particles in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Delta South MLA calls high-speed rail study a ‘crazy announcement’

‘You’d be better off to move to Seattle’ than to travel to Vancouver from the Lower Mainland

Washington state backs B.C. in pipeline dispute

Governor Jay Inslee says he is ‘allied’ with the province on Trans Mountain expansion projection

SAY WHAT? Readers weigh in on high-speed rail to U.S.

B.C. to contribute $300,000 to a million-dollar business study on the proposed project

B.C.-based CEO charged with conspiring to sell unhackable phones to criminals

Vincent Ramos of Richmond, was arrested last week in Seattle in years-long undercover operation

Most Read